You know that if you like good beer you’re not alone. The craft brewery business has exploded over the past several years, and Florida has been one of the hottest spots.
As a result, you may have wondered what it takes open a brewery of your own. After all, when your personal brews stand among the best you’ve tasted, you know there’s a potential market. But you need to be realistic. Your brewery may lead to success, but you’ll need to do a lot of work before you get there.
Make great beer
Opening a brewery is not cheap. You’ll need to invest a great deal of time and money into the effort. Your equipment may cost you anywhere from $100,000 used to as much as $1 million if you want newer equipment with a greater volume. So, you want to make sure you’ve got beer worthy of the investment. You’ll want top quality and a unique appeal.
Create a business plan and a business
You’ll want more than great beer to succeed. You’ll also want a great plan. You want to take a careful look at your budget, as well as your plan to market and sell. Additionally, you may want to think about how the right business entity, such as an LLC, may shield you from unforeseen problems.
Location and equipment
You’ve probably heard the old mantra, “Location. Location. Location.” Well, this matters for your ability to draw customers. But it also matters for housing your equipment and land use approval. You’ll need room to house your kettles, boilers, fermentation tanks, storage tanks and other equipment. Your floor must resist the erosion from spills. And you cannot afford to start work only to find that you’re too close to a church or a school to sell beer. You need to investigate your land use beforehand. Even crossing a road can change the uses available to you.
Licenses and permits
To open and run your brewery, you’ll need a range of licenses. The federal government regulates brewery licenses, and you’ll need the right Florida licenses to sell your beer. Florida alcohol license laws can be confusing, especially if you intend to keep pace with current trends by offering seltzers, ciders or other drinks as well as beer. Brewers commonly work with attorneys to make sure they have the right licenses for their intended:
- In-house sales
- Bottles and labeling
- Expected production volumes
- Different alcohols
Your attorney should help you review the requirements for each license. You’ll need some licenses to get started, but you might be able to wait on others, depending on your business plan.
Running your own craft brewery can be an excellent way to combine your passions with sound business. But it’s no way to “get rich quick.” You’ll most likely need to pay off debts as you build your business.
Accordingly, you want to think long-term, and you might want to think about how you’ll respond to changes well before you need to. Things change, and if you anticipate those changes, you’ll be better positioned to adapt.