Starting a Brewery: A Guide on How to Start a Brewery

Nick Mirev
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    It is no wonder that beer is one of the most popular drinks in the world and the most popular beer brands are recognized across the globe. According to archaeological findings, the beverage has been brewed during the 5th millennium BC. Nowadays, tap beer is among the preferred drinks in a restaurant. Additionally, a lot of people enjoy trying new craft beer and food pairings. In this article, we’ll examine some of the popular types of beer businesses you can create as well as details on starting a brewery.

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    Different Types of Beer Businesses

    The beer industry includes many different businesses. Depending on your interests and capital, there are possibilities for you to take your place in this niche. Let’s take a look at some of the popular types of beer-related businesses.


    They are the cornerstone of the beer industry. Breweries can vary in size. With the craft beer revolution, a lot of small and nano breweries emerged in the past decade in order to answer the demand for interesting and different beer drinks. Beer trends show that the craft industry is only going to grow. A couple of paragraphs below, you can find tips on starting a brewery.


    These establishments are essentially restaurants or pubs that brew their beer on-site. It’s then served directly to customers. Brewpubs usually have a wide range of options in their beer menu as they strive to answer the beer taste of their customers.


    These beer bars have a large selection of beers on tap. Usually, these craft beers are brewed by small and nano breweries. This means that the taps change often depending on the season, the availability of beers from craft breweries, and just to help with guest retention. Taprooms are among the most profitable beer businesses (check our article on are bars profitable) and they are the main businesses that popularize the craft beer culture. They’re a place to try a variety of different beers and learn more about the brewing process of different beer types.

    Beer Distribution

    Logistics are an important part of the beer sector as well. Transporting beer from breweries to venues and stores can be a profitable business. A wholesale beer distribution company can be the crucial link between the beer production business and places visited by consumers such as retail stores, liquor stores, and bars.

    Beer eCommerce Website

    A lot of beer enthusiasts enjoy trying new beers from the comfort of their homes. That’s why a beer website can be a profitable business. The website can be just an eCommerce site for different craft beers. Beer subscription boxes also have great potential. They are great gifts for beer enthusiasts. You can offer both luxurious subscription types as well as low-cost beer subscription boxes. Check out our guide on how to start a subscription box business. If you’re a beer lover but don’t have the capital to start an online store, you can always start with a blog and then turn it into a business.

    Beer Events

    It can be very profitable for taprooms and pubs to organize events at their venues. Examples of such events are beer tastings, workshops on brewing, or other educational events about beer. Another potential business idea for a city with a lot of tourists and young visitors is a pub crawl company.

    Key takeaway: Starting a brewery requires a lot of planning and funding. It can be a profitable business and a way to turn a beer brewing hobby into a business.
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    Steps for Starting a Brewery

    If you’ve decided to turn your hobby into a business and are looking for information on how to start a brewery, the next paragraphs will show you the main steps for starting a brewery.

    Prepare a Comprehensive Brewery Business Plan

    Drafting a well-developed business plan alongside a SWOT analysis is crucial. If you have the time and resources, you can prepare more than one plan for different types of breweries. One can be for a nano brewery and the other - for a brewpub. A brewery business plan should include the business concept, target markets, company structure, beer marketing and sales channels, and financial projections. The plan will be the roadmap for the first years of the business.

    Plan the Costs and Secure Funding

    Starting a brewery, even a nano one, is not a small investment. You need to acquire not only the machinery and equipment, but also licenses, permits, and raw materials. Furthermore, some of the biggest expenses for a business that has just started should be on marketing and branding. As part of your business plan, you need to thoroughly plan the costs for the first 12-24 months. This will help you find investors and secure funding in order to start the business. The funding can be in different forms - personal savings, loans, or investors. You can also start a crowdfunding campaign. There are many craft beer enthusiasts out there. If you have a creative approach, you might secure all the funding you need.

    Documentation and Regulations

    You should research and obtain the licenses and permits required for starting a brewery. Keep in mind that they might differ based on the location.

    Location and Equipment

    The location of the brewery should be carefully selected. It should be close to major infrastructure such as highways. Other main factors to consider include size, proximity to suppliers and customers, and growth opportunities.

    After you pick the location for your brewery, you should purchase the needed equipment. This includes fermenters, cooling systems, brewing kettles, and tanks. Other things you’ll need include kegs, bottling or canning machinery, and quality control tools. Consider different options depending on your budget for starting a brewery. You can purchase cheaper used equipment first and then slowly replace it with new high-quality ones.

    Don’t forget about technology and software as well. Things like beer inventory software, warehouse inventory management software, invoice software for small businesses, and other wholesale business software can help you automate a lot of tasks.

    Plan Your Beer Styles and Flavors

    Before you start searching for beer distributors and advertising your brewery, you should carefully plan the beers you’ll brew. A recommended way for this is to produce the most common types of beer regularly as well as offer unique seasonal beers. Pale ale and IPA are good choices for beers to offer all year long. During the winter, you can focus more on stout, porter, and other types of dark beer. Use the holidays as part of your beer brewing schedule. For example, you can offer pumpkin ale around Halloween or some citrus-flavored beers in the summer.

    Planning the styles and flavors is a crucial part of the branding and the vision of your brewery.

    Find Distributors, Advertise Your Brewery, and Make the First Steps in Marketing and Sales

    Make sure to utilize both offline and online channels when you do marketing for your brewery. Social media, local events, and traditional advertising are just some of the channels you can use to increase the brand awareness of your business. Creating a professional eCommerce website and shipping beer directly to your customers is also a must.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Starting a Brewery

    After we briefly explained how to start a brewery, you might have a lot of additional questions. Allow us to provide you with answers to some of the popular ones.

    What’s the Profit per Barrel of Beer?

    The gross margin in beer is around 50%. That can vary a lot depending on various factors such as the market, the season, and the type of beer produced. As we explained above in our checklist on starting a brewery, craft breweries need to properly plan their production in order to answer the demand in different seasons or to introduce special brews around holidays.

    What Beer Business Can You Start with Least Capital?

    The easiest beer-related business you can start with little capital is an online dropshipping website that sells beer online. You can build it using a free platform and invest time in adding informational content. Even though this business has great potential to grow, it will take a lot of work and commitment to turn this website into a profitable business.

    Is It Hard to Brew Beer?

    Brewing beer is fairly simple. People who work in this industry and know the process very well share that their job includes a lot of stirring, cleaning, and sterilizing. Anyone can easily brew beer at home. What very few people know is how to start a brewery that’s profitable and turn this hobby into a business.

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