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How Much Does It Cost to Open a Brewery? 6 Brewery Costs

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The question of “How much does it cost to open a brewery?” Is tied into the question of how to open up a brewery. A brewery business is similar in many ways to the best wine bars, or a winery, restaurant, or bar business. Many of the costs associated with opening a brewery are also similar across the board of hospitality industry businesses. Some of them even include costs around beer expiration.

From hiring brewery staff to buying brewery cleaning supplies to getting a brewery license, the list of brewery costs is long. The process of how to work at a brewery is involved. That's because the brewery staff are an integral part of the costs of owning and operating a brewery. 

Learning how much it costs to open a brewery is one of the first steps for a budding brewery owner. This BinWise blog breaks down the costs, so you can start out with a firm foundation of cost understanding. 

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Average Cost to Start a Brewery

The average cost to start a brewery rests between $250,000 and $500,000, with the potential for much higher costs. That average is similar to the average of a $275,000 cost to start a restaurant. Of course, you need to keep in mind that those costs are only for the start of your business. They include some overhead expenses and startup costs. 

The average cost to start a brewery is the tip of the iceberg of the cost of a brewery overall. Your ongoing expenses year after year will be high. That said, after the first few years you’ll start to turn an excellent profit if you lean into small business marketing. You'll also want to set up a great business plan–similar to a restaurant business plan.

Brewery Equipment Cost

Your brewery equipment cost can range anywhere from $100,000 to millions of dollars. It all depends on the size of your brewery business, the types of beer you’re brewing, and the size of your team. Those monetary numbers might seem extreme, but they make sense when you think about the quantity and quality of the equipment you need. 

You’ll need:

  • Kettles
  • Kegs
  • Boilers
  • Bottling lines
  • Canning lines
  • Conveyors
  • Cooling systems
  • Storage tanks
  • Fermentation tanks
  • Filters
  • Beer-labeling machines
  • Piping and tubing supplies
  • Refrigeration equipment
  • Cleaning equipment and cleaning supplies
  • Waste treatment systems
  • Tap handles

… and so much more! That doesn’t even begin to account for equipment and items for your taproom–where you serve up the best beer on tap. The list and budget goes on and on. 

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Brewery?

This is a tricky question to answer. If you’re looking to build a brewery from the ground up the costs are going to be much higher than with an existing location. That said, there are many benefits to building a brewery to your specifications:

  • Details that suit your business branding to your exact specifications
  • A space that fits exactly what you need equipment-wise
  • A taproom that serves the number of people you want to host for your customer service plan

The average cost to build a commercial space is between $238 to $286 per square foot. For a brewery, that number is higher. BinWise isn’t a legal advisor or a building inspector, we can’t tell you exactly what it will cost in your location, for your specifications. If you want to go this route, check out the costs in your area. 

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Brewery Franchise Cost

A brewery franchise can be a nice way to get into the brewery business if you’re looking to work with existing beer brands. There is a range of brewery franchises you can choose from. The brewery franchise cost ranges from $300,000 up to millions of dollars. It all depends on the size of the brand you’re buying into for your brewery franchise location. 

Brewery Insurance Cost

The average brewery insurance cost for small breweries is $77 to $109 a month. That covers you for $1,000,000/$2,000,000 in general liability insurance. Of course, this is a sample example of the insurance cost. It will change depending on your location, the size of your brewery, and the parameters of your business. 

Brewery License Cost

Your brewery license cost will also vary depending on your location. It’s often tied to getting a liquor license. The average cost for a brewery license is between $300 and $1,000, but that’s a wide range. It can be on either side of that as well. Ultimately, this is another cost you should check for your location, as it differs, and can change year by year. 

"Key Takeaway: From hiring brewery staff to buying brewery cleaning supplies to getting a brewery license, the list of brewery costs is long."

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cost to Open a Brewery

The question of “How much does it cost to open a brewery?” Brings along a great deal of follow-up questions. When you’re talking about costs, from startup costs to ongoing overhead expenses, there’s a lot you need to know. It’s not something you want to mess around with and discover that you’ve done a calculation incorrectly. 

Of course, a lot of this work will be internal, as it’ll be specific to your brewery business needs. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you a nudge in the right direction. 

How Do I Start a Small Brewing Business?

Starting a small brewing business starts with a business plan, funding, a brewery concept, and finding the place for your brewery. From there, following the general steps of a business plan will get you started. The key ingredient of a small brewing business is passion, that’s what you’ll need a healthy heap of to get started and keep going.

Is a Brewery a Good Business?

Yes, a brewery is a good business because it has a high profit margin. Beers have a high profit margin. After a few years of startup costs and finding your established place in your location, you’ll bring in good profits. 

Can I Make a Living Brewing Beer?

Yes, you can make a living brewing beer. It’s a product that is in high demand around the world. In every nook and cranny of every country, there are beer lovers and bars looking to buy the best beer. Making a living brewing beer takes time, but it’s entirely possible. 

Is a Brewery or Distillery More Profitable?

A distillery is less expensive and more profitable than a brewery business. The main cost of a distillery is the time it takes to distill your liquors in barrels. If you’re interested in producing liquors and spirits, a distillery is a profitable choice.

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Cost to Open a Brewery: The Brew Bank

The cost to open a brewery isn’t a straightforward number. It depends on the specifications you have in mind, your location, your customer base, and so much more. Once you’ve covered your cost list and you’re ready to open the doors, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart.

The BinWise Pro platform, with the integrated BinScan mobile app, can help ease your inventory program needs. BlueCart’s order management system will make it easier than ever to stay on top of your reorder point and keep yourself stocked up. 

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