The dos and don’ts of starting a microbreweryEdit Post
Contributed by on Apr 25, 2019
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The craft beer revolution has been brewing for a while now (pun very much intended) and despite the UK’s alcohol consumption being at its lowest this century, beer sales have actually been steadily increasing. Now is the time to take advantage of that trend and break into the market. How, you ask? By starting your own microbrewery of course!
Whether it be pale ale, porter, ruby, IPA, DIPA or stout, owning a microbrewery can be a ton of fun you can do either full-time, part-time or simply as a hobby. However, it can also be a lot of hard, time-consuming work which can take a while to perfect, so it’s important to know your stuff going into it.
Before you get started then, here are some of the key dos and don’ts of starting your own microbrewery.
Do: Be passionate
There aren’t many people in the brewery business who don’t have a passion for their trade. It is their love of beer that drives them on and motivates them to produce a high-quality product of their own, so it’s vital you feel the same way. If you aren’t already a craft beer lover, how are you going to know what tastes good for your customers?
Don’t: Buy the wrong equipment
Having the right equipment can make or break a product. As beer is often stored in cans, high quality and reliable machinery that’s able to store beer both effectively and hygienically is a must. It might seem expensive to purchase at first, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
As you’re just starting out, you might want to try a beginner’s brewing kit such as this one. Once you’ve nailed the brewing process though, you can move onto bigger, more industrial equipment such as these bad boys. Eventually, you might even reach a point where your microbrewery looks like this…
Do: Put a focus on quality over quantity
A microbrewery is defined as ‘an independent brewery which produces a very small amount of beer’. With that in mind, your focus should 100% be on quality over quantity. You’re not a mass producer of some generic lager – people will come to you for an authentic tasting beer that uses first-class ingredients and has a homemade feel. It needs to be a beer that is sipped and savoured by customers, rather than chugged straight down the throat.
Don’t: Expect to make the perfect beer straight away
Being the biggest beer lover in the world doesn’t guarantee you’ll be the best home brewer. Most microbreweries take years learning how to perfect their trade, so don’t expect your first batch to be amazing straight away. Stick at it and you’ll eventually design a product good enough to sell.
Do: Be distinctive
The home-brewing business is a somewhat crowded market these days, with over 2000 microbreweries currently operating in the UK. Therefore, having a beer with a unique selling point (USP) is a vital way to stand out from the crowd and get your product noticed.
While the tried and tested method for brewing beer may be centuries old, once you’ve got the basics of it under your belt, you can easily start innovating with particular tastes and ingredients. Just imagine all of the weird and wacky flavours you could come up with! Take a leaf out of these breweries’ books for inspiration (although maybe avoid the whale testicles smoked in sheep dung flavour…)
Having a product with a USP, whether that be a unique flavour, packaging, name, or bottle-shape, can really help make it much more marketable and easier to sell.
Don’t: Expect to make tons of money
Most brewers go into the microbrewing businesses out of a love for beer, rather than a desire to make a ton of money. That’s not to say it can’t be done though. With a distinctive, high quality product marketed at the right price point, it is more than possible to turn a profit – which brings me on to my next point…
Do: Go into it with business-minded people
While a love for beer is great, the main aim of owning a microbrewery is, for a lot of people, to make money. With this in mind, it makes sense to treat it as a business and go into it with people who have some business acumen. Most brewers tend to spend more of their time trying to sell their beer, instead of actually brewing it, so the business-side is arguably as important as the product itself.
Don’t: Lose your hunger
Starting a microbrewery can be a costly, stressful and time-consuming venture, requiring a lot of man-hours and hard work. It can be easy at times to lose hope and forget why you started the business in the first place, so make sure you guard against that. Remind yourself of why you first went into it and stay devoted to what you’re trying to achieve. You should gain a thirst for it over time (another very much intended pun), rather than the other way around.
Microbrewing can be a lot of fun, but only when done right. It’s important to understand going in that it’s unlikely to be an overnight success. However, with the right dedication and direction, there’s no reason it can’t turn into an enjoyable, profitable and highly rewarding venture.
Now, with all this talk of beer, I’m off down the pub. Hope to see your brew down there soon.