So you have decided to start a brewery. Starting any business is hard. Starting a brewery is really hard (and expensive). You are about to make a lot of big decisions with far-reaching implications. It’s time to make some smart decisions.
The beer business is a highly regulated industry. Your business is going to need to comply with federal requirements, state requirements (likely eventually multiple states’ requirements when you start distributing across state lines), and city and county requirements, and might have to negotiate with your local neighborhood association.
Realistically budgeting your time and money is going to make or break your new business. To survive, you will need to avoid the costly or potentially fatal unnecessary losses of time and money (and, perhaps even worse, your enthusiasm about the project to start with).
If you are smart, resourceful, and available, you can a lot of what you need to do to get up and running. If you are planning to keep your day job, are raising small children, or are not in a position to be the driving force behind making this happen as quickly as possible, you may want to hire someone to keep this on track. You do not, however, want to be spending money on rent for a vacant building for months while you wait for final permit approval or for your build-out to finish, or have to explain to your investors why you need extra money than you hadn’t planned for. Regardless, you may have to hire an attorney, consultant, or another professional, like me to do most of these things for you. If you do have to go that route, make sure to hire someone you are comfortable with, and that can work with you for the budget you have set aside to hire them.
The thousand words or so on the following pages aren’t going to cover all of your bases. They should, however, help keep you on track. Let’s get started.