Starting a Colorado Brewery (10 Legal Steps)

Craft brewery

Find your spot, and negotiate your lease or purchase

Step 7: Find your spot and negotiate your lease or purchase

Picking a spot can be a challenging step in this process. You should first check with your county zoning department to make sure you understand the types of zoning where you will be able to set up a brewery. If you find a spot that is not zoned for your desired use, you will likely have an opportunity to ask the zoning department to rezone the property to suit your needs, or for a zoning exception, but frankly you will save yourself a lot of headaches if you can avoid that type of situation altogether by picking a property that already permits this type of business.

Lease negotiation:

You will need to have a signed lease or deed in place in order to get your brewer’s notice and manufacturer’s license. Keep in mind that lease negotiations often take time to negotiate terms that the landlord and tenant can agree to.

Sticking issues in lease negotiations include the term of the lease, an extension option for the tenant, deferred rent during a build-out and licensing phase, food trucks and parking issues, personal guarantors of the lease, and the condition of the returned premises. One common provision brewers seek is an out-clause in the event that the tenant cannot successfully obtain a license for the premises.

Necessary clauses:

Key to any brewery lease is a provision that permits the company to use the premises to brew beer (and set up a tasting room to serve beer, play music, etc.). Make sure your lease includes such clauses.