Starting a brewery business takes time, dedication, and a great love of beer. It also includes all the steps of starting any business, from a business plan to marketing to hiring your staff. This guide to brewery business success will get you started.
The practice of how to open up a brewery is similar to how to start a wine business, bar, or restaurant. It shares qualities with opening the best brunch places, starting a beer garden, opening a sports bar, or process of how to open a wine bar.
Opening a Brewery
Opening a brewery involves the usual work of opening a restaurant or bar business. Then there are the decisions and plans specific for breweries. On the BinWise site, when we spoke about opening a winery, we talked about things like:
... and so much more in the complete winery guide.
Opening a brewery shares many of those qualities and needs. You’ll need staff, inventory, an inventory program, a business plan, brewery cleaning supplies, a brewery license, and brewery management software. From your inventory to your order management system, there’s plenty to keep track of.
How to Open a Craft Brewery
Opening a craft brewery is very similar to how to open up a brewery. Some of the key differences between the two are:
- A craft brewery is an independent brewery, while a brewery is often part of a larger business.
- Craft breweries tend to make their beers in small batches. This leads to seasonal brews and limited editions.
- Craft breweries need more work with branding and marketing, creating a business brand, and understanding the importance of branding. They’re a small business, so small business marketing is a necessity.
Those differences make a craft brewery something that can take more personal care, but that pays off in the long run. Craft breweries are gaining popularity due to their personal, curated space in the brewery business industry.
Opening a Brewery: Brewing Up a Beer Business
Learning how to open up a brewery and following the steps can be a long process. If you’re looking for a lasting business with a unique selling proposition, there’s plenty you need to know. One important thing to learn is how much it costs to open a brewery.
"Key Takeaway: A brewery is a business you can pour passion into alongside every glass of beer you pour."
The question of “How much does it cost to open a brewery?” Is something every brewery business owner gets to be well acquainted with. These six brewery business costs cover a wide range. You’ll find your specific costs within these lists.
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, those costs are only for the start of your brewery. The following costs come up along the way, as well as at the beginning.
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. The equipment you should consider includes:
- Bottling lines
- Canning lines
- Cooling systems
- Storage tanks
- Fermentation tanks
- Beer-labeling machines
- Piping and tubing supplies
- Refrigeration equipment
- Cleaning equipment and cleaning supplies
- Waste treatment systems
- Tap handles
This equipment will get you started. If you invest in high-quality equipment, these items will last for ages.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Brewery?
If you’re building 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.
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 are a range of brewery franchises you can choose from. The brewery franchise cost ranges from $300,000 into the millions.
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, but you can generally expect something similar.
Brewery License Cost
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.
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, it’s time to get started on spending some of your funds, and hiring your brewery staff.
Hiring brewery staff is a big step toward having a fully functioning brewery business. These 12 facets of hiring brewing staff will help you learn how to hire staff, what positions to hire for, and the role your staff play in the success of your brewery.
You want to make sure your brewers and other employees have some level of prior experience. This can come in many forms. These three facets of brewery training are good to keep an eye out for and ask about in job interviews.
3. Through a College
Going through a college program for brewery training is a common option. You’ll find many schools with brewery programs and certifications. You can work online, or find a school near you.
2. Through a Certificate Program
A specific certification program is also a good choice. The Brewers Association is one option for finding these programs. It’s less time-intensive than a school program for the most part.
Some of the best brewery owners have delved into the process of learning the art of brewing by themselves. Being self-taught takes more work, but can often be more rewarding in the long run.
How Much Do Brewery Workers Make?
According to Zippia, the average salary for a brewery worker is $13.91 an hour for an entry-level job. In some states, namely Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, New Hampshire, and California, brewery wages can be higher. In those states, it’s likely for a brewery worker to make around $42,000 a year.
Brewery Job Titles
Most brewery titles fall under these six categories in some way or another. If you’re looking for a brewery job, you can match your skills to one of these jobs. You could also go after another with the right training. When you’re hiring, make sure you’re looking for a mix of these employees, to keep your employee roster well-rounded.
The brewer is a key job most folks have heard about at a brewery. The brewer can be one of many people working in the brewing system. This person is responsible for making the beer.
The brewery engineer is responsible for setting up the brewery equipment. After the initial set up the engineer helps make sure the equipment is in good working order. This is vital for overall beer production.
Microbiologist or Chemist
The microbiologist or chemist spends their time analyzing the microbes found in the brewing process. They test these microbes against a database of known microbes. That helps them make sure nothing is being introduced into the mix that could negatively affect the beer.
The brewery manager is there to make sure everything is running smoothly. They work with everyone in the brewery, and have a vast knowledge of the entire works of the process.
Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing folks in a brewery are generally responsible for getting the news about their beer out into the world. This is similar to many other sales and marketing jobs in other industries.
Customer service typically includes the staff who lead tours through the brewery and chat with guests on-site. This is another somewhat general job, but it’s vital for sales within the walls of the brewery.
Brewery Workers: Working the Beer Line
Brewery staff are a key ingredient of a successful brewery. The brewery manager in particular is a job that keeps the brewery running smoothly.
"Key Takeaway: Brewery staff are the backbone of the process of how a brewery works."
The brewery manager job description covers a lot of ground in the management and staff structure of a brewery business. These four facts around the brewer manager job description showcase how vital of a position it is.
What Is a Brewery Manager?
The brewery manager job description covers everything from the daily brewery operations to expanding customer service and guiding the brand of the brewery. A brewery manager is a standard manager and brand manager all in one. They fulfill a variety of responsibilities to keep the brewery running smoothly.
Brewery Manager Responsibilities
Brewery manager responsibilities include:
- Supervising, scheduling, and training employees
- Maintaining cleanliness in the brewery
- Keeping the brewery up to code and in compliance with licensing regulations
- Ensuring customer satisfaction
- Managing inventory–an inventory management system and inventory management program will help
- Overseeing the brewing process
- Managing wholesale beer sales with vendors
- Overseeing brewery finances
Overall, the brewery manager is responsible for each aspect of the brewery. The brewery manager works closely with the brewery owner and the brewers.
Brewery Manager Salary
According to Indeed, brewery managers can expect to earn between $94,400 and $112,100 a year. Glassdoor has the average salary of a brewery manager noted as $56,972 a year. ZipRecruiter has a salary of $36,449 a year for brewery managers. PayScale has a range that falls between $32,000 and $74,000 a year.
A brewery manager salary can vary widely depending on location and brewery specifications. If you’re a brewery owner working as the manager, your salary will depend on your annual revenue and overhead expenses.
Brewery Management Courses
Brewery management courses can help you prepare for the brewery manager job description. General management courses and certifications are a good option. You can also lean into the brewery-specific courses available.
Those include the business of craft brewing, beer quality analysis programs, and master brewer courses. They’re all good options for expanding your knowledge and learning things you can share with brewery guests.
Brewery Management Work: Managing Microbrews
From the brewery manager to the rest of the brewery staff, there’s a question that lingers for people on the other side of the equation, people looking for a job. That question is, how do you work at a brewery?
Learning how to work at a brewery is something anyone interested in beer can dive into. It’s also important for brewery owners to consider how someone can work for them and how that process works. These 12 factors of brewery work all play into the overall work a brewery does.
12. Choose Your Niche
You could be a brewer, an engineer, a microbiologist or chemist, a manager, someone in sales and marketing, or a customer service representative. All of these roles are vital to the operations of the brewery.
11. Learn The Brewing Process
Learning the brewing process will help you excel at brewery business work even if you don’t choose to work as a brewer. If you’re in customer service it helps to be able to share the process with customers. The same goes for a sales, marketing, or management role.
10. Sample Some Brews
If you’re a beer enthusiast, sampling the brewery beers will help you have an interesting conversation in the interview. It will also give you some insider knowledge.
9. Daily Brewery Work
Daily brewery work is something to think about as you’re looking for work, and something to prepare for each day of your brewing career. It ranges from the work of brewing and checking on beer batches to setting up the taproom each day to sell beer on tap.
8. Taproom Work
When a brewery has a taproom, that’s a crucial component of sales and profits for the business. Keeping the taproom up and running, and inviting for customers, is key.
7. Brewery Sales
Brewery sales can fall under the process of how to work at a brewery for sales and customer service brewery staff. It’s a critical piece of every work day.
6. Finding a Brewery Job
Finding a brewery job comes before many of the other steps on this list. We’ve placed it at number six because of how important it is, even as a basic step. Finding a brewery job is similar to finding any other job–job boards and online ads will be the place to start your search.
5. Network With Brewers
Networking with brewers and others in the brewery industry can help you find work. It will also help you grow your knowledge and expertise in the industry.
4. Get Certified
For brewers and chemists, getting certified often involves a degree or certification program. For a manager, it can be a management course or previous experience. It all depends on the qualifications you need.
3. Brew Up Your Resume
Brushing up your resume for a brewery position will help you be more prepared for the job hunt. You can look at your past experience and see where your application skills are in the field. You may be surprised by how much experience you already have.
2. Find Intern Work
If you’re struggling to find a way into the brewery industry, starting with an internship can help. It’s an entry level option that gives you experience. If you’re toying with the idea of working at a brewery, an internship can help you fully decide.
1. Have Passion for Your Craft (Brews)
Having passion for your work is one of the best ways to make sure you enjoy the majority of your time at work. Yes, some parts will always feel like work. However, if you have a passion for brewing, you’ll find success and enjoyment in your work.
Working at a Brewery: Put Your Brewer’s Cap On
Working at a brewery is something every person in the brewery business needs a well-rounded view of. It’s all part of the larger experience of how a brewery works, which involves many moving parts, including the specifics of brewery licensing.
"Key Takeaway: Working at a brewery is a never-ending adventure. From working as a brewer to working with customers in the taproom, it’s all surrounding the art of brewing great beer."
Learning how to get a brewery license is vital for everyone who wants to open a brewery business. That said, it’s not always a straightforward process. BinWise isn’t a legal agency, and we don’t offer legal advice. We urge you to do your own research when you’re opening a brewery because rules and regulations do change.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is a good place to turn toward for research and rules. How to get a brewery license is similar to getting a liquor license, so that information is helpful as well.
These regulations for the United States follow current online resources. They may change before you dive into the process, so be sure to check your local guidelines.
- Alabama: In Alabama, you initially need a liquor license. You specifically need to register with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, or ABC board, in the county where you’re opening a brewery.
- Alaska: In Alaska, you often need a liquor license and a specific winery/brewery license on top of the regular license. Alaska has some intense liquor and alcoholic beverage laws, so there are more steps you need to take.
- Arizona: Arizona has a few ways you can open a brewery or a brewery type of business. A liquor license is a good place to start. There are also microbrewery applications if you’re opening a business of a specific size.
- Arkansas: For the most part in Arkansas, you only need a liquor license to start with for a brewery business. The tricky parts of the process come into play with certain counties; Arkansas has certain dry counties.
- California: In California, you’ll typically need a beer manufacturer license, a small beer manufacturer license, or a general brewpub license. Which one you’ll need depends on the size of your brewery business.
- Colorado: For Colorado, you’ll need a brewer’s notice through the TTB, and a manufacturer’s license with the state of Colorado. If you’re going to have a tasting room you’ll also need a Colorado Wholesale license and a Colorado Liquor Sales Room permit.
- Connecticut: In Connecticut, you need to start with a liquor license. Specific licenses and permits beyond that basic license will depend on your location, but the liquor license is the most important.
- Delaware: In Delaware, to start off you need a liquor license. It’s an intensive liquor license in Delaware, it covers many specific instances. You should also look into Responsible Server Training approved by the state of Delaware if you’re serving tastings and food.
- Florida: In Florida, for a brewery, you need a Cereal Malt Beverage (CMB) or CMBP license. You may also need a specific license for a taproom or brewpub. That's if you’re looking to sell beer directly to the public through your brewery.
- Georgia: In Georgia, there’s a specific state of Georgia Brewery License. To get that license, you need a Malt Beverage Bond Performance and Tax Liability Bond. You also need an Alcohol and Tobacco personnel statement, a Citizenship Affidavit, annual registration for your business, and a local license. A few other items may come up depending on your business type.
- Hawaii: In Hawaii, you need to start with a liquor license. Different counties and islands have their own specific rules. From a liquor license to a direct wine shipper permit, there’s a lot to look into for your specific location.
- Idaho: For Idaho, an alcoholic beverage license is the place to start. You’ll need to complete a background check, a financial check, and fingerprinting to get set up with the application. From there, there are different levels of licensing depending on your business type.
- Illinois: In Illinois, there are brewer’s licenses and liquor licenses. Typically you need some level of both for an Illinois brewery.
- Indiana: For Indiana, an alcoholic beverage permit is the main requirement. You’ll need to contact an alcoholic beverage permit processor through the Indiana state government, which will help you check all your boxes.
- Iowa: In Iowa, you need a liquor license to start with. From there, you’ll need specific licenses and permits depending on the size of your business, your employees, and what you’re planning to sell on-site.
- Kansas: In Kansas, the brewery license rules are based on the size and type of brewery business you’re opening. In many cases you’ll need a standard Kansas liquor license. You may also need a specific microbrewery license.
- Kentucky: For Kentucky, there are a few different options. There is the standard liquor license. There is also, however, a temporary Kentucky liquor license. That’s a unique option. You could also get an alcoholic beverage license to cover some general needs.
- Louisiana: In Louisiana, you’ll need a liquor license and, depending on your location, a more specific alcoholic beverage permit. Louisiana has different laws than many other states, so it’s a unique case depending on where in Louisiana you are.
- Maine: For opening a brewery in Maine, you’ll need a brewer’s notice, an Occupancy license for your location, and a sales and use tax certification. You’ll also need a specific brewery license depending on the size and structure of your brewery.
- Maryland: For Maryland, you’ll need a liquor license to start. You’ll then need to dive into which type of brewery license in Maryland is right for you. There are standard options, micro-brewery options, and manufacturing and wholesale licenses.
- Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, you’ll need something called an alcohol beverages farmer brewery license. This is unique to Massachusetts. There is also an option for an alcoholic beverages pub brewery license.
- Michigan: For Michigan, there are a range of brewery-specific licenses and permits. You’ll likely need either a brewer or micro brewer license, or a manufacturing license and permit. In some cases you’ll need both.
- Minnesota: In Minnesota, you’ll need a few licenses that come up for most states. You’ll be required to have a brewer’s notice, a liquor license, and a wholesaler manufacturing license.
- Mississippi: For Mississippi, you’ll need a beer permit and a liquor license. These two permits and licenses cover a lot of requirements in Mississippi.
- Missouri: In Missouri, a microbrewery license is often required. You’ll also want to look into an alcoholic beverage retail license that is specific to your drinks. A liquor license will also be important.
- Montana: In Montana, one thing you’ll need to look into is a domestic brewery license. A liquor license and general business licensing will also be required.
- Nebraska: In Nebraska, you’ll need a liquor license, and potentially a craft brewery license. There are different levels of licenses depending on your business type.
- Nevada: For Nevada, you’ll need a mix of licenses. A liquor license is the place to start. From there, a brewery license is the next step.
- New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, there are a number of licenses to look into beyond a standard liquor license. A beer specialty, beverage manufacturer, brew pub, carrier, or nano brewery may be the right choice for you.
- New Jersey: In New Jersey, on top of a liquor license, you’ll need a few other permits and licenses. A craft brewery license may be the right choice for you. A manufacturer license is also an option.
- New Mexico: For New Mexico, firstly you need a standard liquor license. Beyond that, you’ll need something specific. A small brewer liquor license is a common option.
- New York: In New York, you’ll need to start with a liquor license. Beyond that, there are different levels of beer permits depending on the size and structure of your business.
- North Carolina: For North Carolina, a brewery permit is required. A liquor license is also important. On top of that, you’ll need some level of a manufacturing license.
- North Dakota: In North Dakota, a liquor license is the place to start. From there, you’ll also want to look into a retail alcoholic beverage license.
- Ohio: For Ohio, there are a variety of permits and licenses you’ll need. For one, you’ll need a liquor license. On top of that, you’ll likely need a permit to serve alcoholic beverages, and a manufacturer’s license.
- Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, you need either a liquor license or an alcoholic beverages license, depending on the exact type of brewery you’re opening. Oklahoma has somewhat straightforward requirements and processes in place for opening a brewery.
- Oregon: In Oregon, you typically need a liquor license, as well as a brewery public house or winery permit. If you’re serving food you’ll also need to look into food handler’s certifications.
- Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, you’ll need a federal brewing permit from the TTB. A liquor license will also come up along the way. Pennsylvania is fairly straightforward in what you’ll need for a brewery.
- Rhode Island: For Rhode Island, you’ll need a basic brewery permit with the TTB in addition to a liquor license. You’ll need a different type of brewery permit depending on the size of your brewery.
- South Carolina: For South Carolina, you will need to start with an Alcohol Beverage license. You’ll also need a state sales tax permit no matter what type of brewery you open. The rest is dependent on what type of brewery you choose to run.
- South Dakota: In South Dakota, you’ll need a manufacturing license and a retail on-sale liquor license. South Dakota has more regional requirements for licensing, so it’ll heavily depend on where in South Dakota you’re opening a brewery.
- Tennessee: In Tennessee, in many places you’ll need to start with a beer permit. A liquor license will also likely come up depending on your location. Nashville has its own very specific license rules.
- Texas: In Texas, you need a brewer’s license, a distributor’s license, and a branch distribution license. You’ll also need to look into the rules around liquor licensing in Texas across the state.
- Utah: For Utah, you need a commercial business license. You’ll also need licenses from both the city and the state of Utah, through the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (DABC).
- Vermont: In Vermont, you start with the Department of Liquor and Lottery, Division of Liquor Control’s Online Portal. This is where you sign up for a manufacturer’s license. You’ll also need a wholesale dealer’s license.
- Virginia: In Virginia, for a brewery business you need to start with a liquor license. There are also specific brewery licenses and industry licenses. The Virginia ABC Board has the run-down on all the specifics based on your business type.
- Washington: In Washington, you need to complete a Business License Application and Non-Retail Liquor and Cannabis Board Addendum through the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service. Your application will go through the WSLCB to get you licensed.
- West Virginia: In West Virginia, the main thing you need is a liquor license or beer license. Within those needs, however, are state licenses and the permits that come with serving food and drinks.
- Wisconsin: For Wisconsin, you’ll need to have a business license, a brewer’s notice with the TTB, and a brewery or brewpub permit with the DOR. These steps must be followed in order to cover everything you need.
- Wyoming: In Wyoming, you often only need a liquor license, as the Wyoming liquor license covers a lot of ground. You’ll need to file for a new liquor license, and each year you’ll need to file to renew with the Liquor License Renewal Application.
Getting a Brewery License: Licensed to Brew
The process of how to get a brewery license is one of the most important parts of starting a brewery business. It’s a vital component of how a brewery works.
These 11 facets of how a brewery works happen roughly in this specific order. Some of them may get switched around, and you may find other steps that crop up for your specific brewery plans. When it comes to learning how a brewery works, however, you’ll find all of these steps come up along the way.
11. Opening A Brewery
Opening a brewery is the first step, and an ongoing process. It starts with a brewery business plan, and choosing the design and overall goal of your brewery business. You have to start with a firm foundation of what you want your brewery to be.
10. Hiring Employees
You’ll want brewers, a manager, someone who understands accounting, and general customer service employees. Everything beyond that depends on the size of your brewery and the functions you’re looking to fulfill.
9. Setting Up Management
Setting up management might be as simple as deciding that you, as the brewery business owner, will be the manager. If you want to hire someone you’ll need to plan your management structure with more precision.
8. Procuring Brewing Supplies
Procuring brewing supplies comes before many of the other physical steps of opening and operating a brewery. Yes, you’ll need a location secured before you buy up supplies. After you’ve found your spot and gotten your licensing squared away, however, you’ll need supplies.
7. Setting Up Equipment
Setting up your brewery equipment is one of the most tangible steps toward brewing your first batch. This involves cleaning up your space and deciding on your layout. You can check out other breweries for this plan, and find what works best for your location.
6. Brewing Your First Batch
Brewing your first batch is an exciting moment in your brewery business set up. Your customer satisfaction ratings will be based on how your brews turn out. The first batch is the start of everything you’ll make down the road.
5. Marketing Your Brewery
From small business marketing to understanding the importance of branding, there’s a lot you need to learn. Brewery business branding revolves around making your business unique and exciting. Business marketing comes along once you know what makes your business unique.
4. Setting Up Your Taproom
Setting up your taproom might be a part of the set up that comes with equipment and brewing supplies. It is a separate part of your business in the sense that it’s a customer-facing space with a different main goal. It’s where you lean on design aspects for your brewery business brand.
3. Choosing Highlighted Brews
Choosing some of your best brews to highlight in your taproom as beer on tap will give you something special for customers. You can also highlight brews at different times of the year.
2. Building a Menu
Building a menu for your taproom should revolve around the brews you’re offering. You can mix up beer food pairings, like a craft beer food pairing menu. For dessert options, lean into beer and chocolate pairing choices. They make for a sweet dessert menu treat.
1. Building a Customer Base
A strong customer base is a long-term goal for your brewery. You can work on it by providing specialized customer service. You could even offer a rewards program or a referral discount. Draw in the right customers, and use your unique qualities as a brewery to keep them coming back.
Brewery Works: Into the Brew
Learning how a brewery works is important for everyone working in or around a brewery. Whether you’re the owner, manager, brewer, or taproom assistant, you play a role in how the brewery operates on a daily basis. From customer service to brewery cleaning supplies, it all comes together to cover the operations of the brewery.
"Key Takeaway: Learning how a brewery works is important for everyone working in or around a brewery, whether you’re the owner, manager, brewer, or taproom assistant."
This brewery cleaning supplies list works for any brewery. These five types of cleaning supplies cover the vital areas of your brewery business. From the beer brewing equipment to the taproom this list has you covered.
5. Acid Detergents
Acid detergents are one of many vital brewery cleaning supplies. Acid detergents keep residue from building up and they work for heavy industrial materials without causing harm.
4. Caustic Cleaners
Caustic cleaners are a sodium hydroxide cleaner used to clean and sanitize your brewery equipment. They break down residue left behind from the brewing process. This keeps your equipment ready for the next batch, with minimal contamination.
3. Draught Line Cleaners
From acid cleaners to caustic cleaners, keeping your draught lines clean is a must. It minimizes contamination in your brews and keeps them tasting fresh and in keeping with the flavor profile.
From a quaternary sanitizer to a food-grade sanitizer, there are plenty of sanitizers to have on hand. Sanitizers help you prepare your brewery equipment for other cleaners and keep a lot of the general areas of your business clean.
1. Specialty Brewery Products
Specialty brewery products come in at number one because they are so unique to brewery cleaning supplies. Specialty brewery products cover everything, including conveyor lubrication, de-foaming agents, caustic cleaner additives, and no-foam additives. These specialty products are primarily used in conjunction with other cleaners.
Brewery Cleaning: 99 Cleaned Bottles of Beer on the Wall
This brewery cleaning supplies list will help you prepare to open your brewery for business and keep it running smoothly through the years. Having a clean brewery is a big part of the battle for operational efficiency. Another part is having the right brewery management software, to keep your operations running with ease.
These seven best brewery management software areas of support come together to make your brewery business better for customers, yourself, and your employees. They cut down on time-consuming tasks and make it easier to enjoy the art of the craft of brewing beer. Any or all of these are perfect for every brewery.
7. Quality Control Software
Quality control software plays the role of helping you consistently make the best beers the way you want them to be made. It gives you continuity in your flavor and substance for every brew and every bottle. Quality control software can monitor the ingredients, flavor, clarity, color, and foam of your brews.
6. Keg Tracking
Kegs can take time to get used to, and keg tracking software can get you there faster. It’s designed to help you keep track of kegs and keep them available. Keg tracking software can make use of barcode scanning, outsource tracking, or RFID keg tracking systems. They all have different benefits.
5. Customer Data Tracking
Customer data tracking is important for any business, from a business and customer perspective. It allows you to know who your customers are, how many are returning, and what they’re enjoying.
For customers, customer data tracking helps to give a more personal experience. Coming back to the same brewery and being remembered there feels amazing. You can provide that level of service with the right software.
4. Reservation Software
When customers can reserve a table at your brewery, or a ticket for a special event you’re hosting, they’ll love it. Reservation software makes it easier for you to manage the customer service of your business. Instead of dealing with your own booking you can get the right brewery management software and ease your workload.
3. POS Systems
There are many POS systems available in the myriad of brewery management software. When you find the right POS system that integrates with your platform, your customers can pay you with ease. You’ll have an organized interface for checking receipts and receiving payments.
2. Order Management
Order management software makes it easier for you to manage your products, have what you need on hand, and even send out shipments. An order management system like BlueCart can help you manage your orders and products from one platform. It keeps track of your reorder point, so you never have to worry about having enough of the products you need.
1. Inventory Management
Inventory management pairs perfectly with order management software. BinWise Pro, the BinWise inventory management platform, pairs perfectly with BlueCart. BinWise, alongside the BinScan app, gives you control when you take inventory, and easy access to your inventory count.
Brewery Management Support: Finding the Right Brewery Management Software
Your brewery management software serves as the underlying backbone of your brewery business. It supports everything you do and makes it better. When you find the right brewery management software and build it into your brewery business plan, you’ll be ready for anything.
"Key Takeaway: The best brewery management software is designed to ease your workload and improve customer service, beer quality, operational efficiency, and business success."
A brewery business plan gives you a concrete list of steps and needs for your brewery business. These 10 factors within a brewery business plan showcase the different areas of business development you’ll work with.
10. Executive Summary
The executive summary is a concise summary of the business, with introductory information for the rest of the plan. Your executive summary is the place for the key highlights of your business, from the product to the commercial space to the market.
9. Company Overview
In your company overview, you should define the operations of your business and the specific products and services. It’s also a good place for information about the ownership structure and hiring plans, as well as inventory plans.
8. Team and Management
The team and management section of your business plan is where you go into detail about the structure of ownership and management. This covers the order of operations as well as the responsibilities of each tier of management. This is also the place to discuss staffing.
7. Menu Sample
A menu sample is vital for any business plan if the business is putting up menus. It gives you an idea of what you’ll need and it’s often required for getting a food service license. This is the place to share ingredients, menu structure, and food supply chain plans.
6. Market Analysis
Your market analysis focuses on three factors: your target consumer, location, and competition. This is where you dive into who your competition is and what is working for them. It’s also where you outline your buyer persona and make a plan for how you’ll sell in your market.
5. Publicity and Marketing
The publicity and marketing section of your brewery business plan is the place to talk about how you’ll spread the word about your business. It's how you’ll get the news of your business out into the world.
4. Business Operations
The business operations section is the place for the daily routine of the business. It covers the general operations that go into the regular success and smooth sailing of the business. It’s a good place to include information about the technological support you’ll use as well.
The finances section of your business plan is the place to outline the finances you’ll need and how you intend to get them. You’ll need a full budget for this section and an outline of the funding you’ll need and the options available.
2. Sales Forecasting
Your sales forecasting section is a subsection of the financial plan. It’s a place for a break-even analysis. That's where you dive into specific pricing from the supply chain to the taproom.
1. Operational Costs
Your operational costs are another subsection of the financial section of your brewery business plan. Operational costs are something you need a firm grasp on when you’re planning your budget.
Brewery Business Plans: Build Your Brew Plan
Your brewery business plan is the place to start and it will be an integral part of the backbone of your brewery business. When it’s written up, you’ll be ready to implement the different sections of it, including your brewery marketing plan.
Brewery marketing is the cornerstone of running a successful brewery business. These 15 brewery marketing tips are applicable for any brewery, of any size, in any location. They cover the particulars of marketing in a saturated space and the general needs that come with a marketing campaign.
15. Jaw-Dropping Architectural Features
Jaw-dropping architectural features can mean something different depending on your location. Updating your architecture features could include great lighting, or even a mural on your building.
14. Pop-Up Tasting Events
Pop-ups are a great marketing tool for any business. Pop-up tasting events help you showcase your brews and connect with your community.
13. Local Partnerships
Partnering with local restaurants and food carts, or specialty shops featuring your products, will get your products in front of a local customer base. Local partnerships will build your community.
12. Community-Generated Content
Getting community-generated content gets you more than just content–it gets you public reviews from customers. This content can come from a photo space at your brewery, or contests online.
11. Branded Email Marketing
Email marketing is something you should engage with from day one of your marketing plan. Branded email marketing that shows what your business is all about, will get you good results.
10. Promotional Giveaways
Promotional giveaways are something you need to be careful with as a business that sells alcohol. For the most part you cannot include beer in giveaways, but you can build them around other merchandise.
9. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are one of the best ways to turn one-time customers into repeat customers. Your loyalty program can include coupons, special offers, and insider information.
8. Brew-Related Content
Brew-related content is something unique to your brewery business. This can come in the form of information and content around the brewery, and information you share at local events.
7. Branded Merchandise
Branded merchandise is a classic marketing tool for a reason: it’s something everyone enjoys. From shirts to beer koozies to pens, there are many options for merchandise you can brand and sell or give away.
6. Social Media Educational Content
Since you’re selling a product people enjoy learning about as much as drinking it, you’re well positioned to create social media educational content. A fun fact posted weekly is a good place to start.
5. Packaging Designs
Your packaging designs are a subtle place to include your brand aesthetic. From the design of individual cans and bottles to the artwork on beer cases, keep your brand in mind.
4. Private Event Hosting
For marketing your space to unique customers, private event hosting is one of the best things to offer. With a beer garden or a large indoor event space, you can rent out the brewery for special events.
3. Use SEO
Using SEO is specifically related to your content marketing and web content. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a critical component of using the full potential of your online marketing. It’s a way of creating content that will rank well on Google and other search engines.
2. Follow Up On Feedback
Following up on customer feedback is less about straightforward marketing and more about the work that goes into making sure your marketing and business plan is working. When you receive feedback, listen to it and implement changes when they make sense for your business.
1. Discover Your Buyer Persona
Discovering your buyer persona is a crucial step for your marketing plan. Your buyer persona is the ideal person you’re selling and marketing toward. Creating your buyer persona and marketing to that person will help guide your marketing.
Marketing for Breweries: Build Up Your Brews
Brewery marketing is something you’ll invest countless hours and a good chunk of your budget in. Your inspiration for marketing ideas can come from anywhere, including other breweries, like some of the best in the United States.
"Key Takeaway: Brewery marketing goals revolve around the need to spread awareness about your brewery business and turn customers into repeat customers."
These 15 best breweries in the U.S. are a place you can turn toward for inspiration. They showcase the variety of beer and breweries across the country.
15. Machine House Brewery In Seattle, WA
Machine House Brewery in Seattle, WA, specializes in unique beer. They produce small-batch, English-style cask ales. Their tasting room is a delightful space for customers.
14. Suarez Family Brewery In Hudson, NY
Suarez Family Brewery in Hudson, NY, specializes in ales that have a mixed range of fermentation. They also have a mastery over unfiltered lagers and crisp brews. They’re an example of what you can do with some truly specialized brews.
13. Halfway Crooks In Atlanta, GA
Halfway Crooks in Atlanta, GA, has a mix of pilsners, lagers, and ales. Their beers range in ABV, but have consistently amazing flavors. Flavor is one of the most important things on your list to pay attention to as a brewery owner.
12. Resident Culture Brewing In Charlotte, NC
Resident Culture Brewing in Charlotte, NC, offers guests a mix of brews, cocktails, and food. A brewery offering more than beer is a surefire success.
11. Wheatland Spring Farm and Brewery In Waterford, VA
Wheatland Spring Farm and Brewery in Waterford, VA, is an estate brewery, which means their farming operations are dedicated to ingredients for their unique beers. They’re an example of farm-to-table operations.
10. Jester King Brewery In Austin, TX
Jester King Brewery in Austin, TX, boasts a brewery, kitchen, farm, and event hall. Their craft beers, fermented with wild yeast, are one of a kind.
9. Highland Park Brewery In Los Angeles, CA
Highland Park Brewery in Los Angeles, CA, is a craft brewery located in Chinatown. Their beer on tap selection is impressive, and it’s paired with a variety of appetizers. They’re a fine example of the unique brewery spaces that have grown in popularity throughout Los Angeles.
8. Blackrocks Brewery In Marquette, MI
Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette, MI, is a mellow microbrewery with craft beer, live music, and an outdoor area for guests to relax with a great brew. They’re a place that, for every guest, quickly becomes the place they always want to spend time at to enjoy some beer in a great environment.
7. Ruse Brewing In Portland, OR
Ruse Brewing in Portland, OR, features delicious beer, a superb environment, and delicious pizza. Portland has a lot of great beer, but you can never go wrong with Ruse Brewing.
6. Side Project Brewing In St. Louis, MO
Side Project Brewing in St. Louis, MO, is a fine example of a passion for beer turning into a successful brewery business. Their beer is unlike anything you’ve tried before.
5. Supermoon Beer Company In Milwaukee, WI
Supermoon Beer Company in Milwaukee, WI is an example of the beer state that Wisconsin is and has been for ages. They specialize in hybrid brews showcasing the quality of Wisconsin beer..
4. Tilted Barn Brewery In Exeter, RI
Tilted Barn Brewery in Exeter, RI, is known for being Rhode Island’s first farm brewery. They’ve been crafting some of the best beer in Rhode Island since 2014.
3. Untitled Art In Waunakee, WI
Untitled Art in Waunakee, WI, is another fine example of the best beers of Wisconsin. Their brews are truly a work of art, and they focus on their presentation with artful designs on their cans.
2. Vitamin Sea Brewing In Weymouth, MA
Vitamin Sea Brewing in Weymouth, MA, is amazing for their creative name alone. Beyond that creativity, they specialize in craft brews that will make you consider the beer of Massachusetts as a serious matter.
1. Weldwerks Brewery In Greeley, CO
Weldwerks Brewery in Greeley, CO, has won a number of awards for their unique brews. From great beers to a kitchen menu that will have you coming back for more, they’re an excellent example of the great beers Colorado offers.
The Best U.S. Breweries: Finding the Best Brew
The best breweries in the U.S. are places you can turn to when it comes to designing your own brewery business. Ultimately, they all have one thing in common: a passion for great beer. That is the main ingredient of a successful brewery. It also applies to breweries around the world you can draw inspiration from.
As a brewery owner, you’re part of the worldwide community around beer. Tapping into that community, and checking out these 12 best breweries worldwide, helps you round out your brewery business.
12. Swinkels Family Brewers In Bodegraven, Netherlands
Swinkels Family Brewers in Bodegraven, Netherlands has been in operation for over 300 years. They’re a company that manages a family of breweries across several countries, with their base remaining in the Netherlands.
11. Fuller’s In Chiswick, Greater London, England
Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick, Greater London, England, is a brewery shop area that covers beer, wine, glassware, and a range of memorabilia. If you’re looking for a spot that is a complete depiction of the England beer and alcohol industry, Fuller’s is it.
10. Cloudwater Brew Co. In Manchester, England
Cloudwater Brew Co. in Manchester, England, is another prime example of the beer scene in England. Cloudwater Brew Co. was founded in 2014, with its first beers being brewed in 2015. They have ruled the Manchester area for great beer brewed from passion.
9. The Kernel Brewery In Bermondsey, Greater London, England
The Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey, Greater London, England, is a London gem specializing in pale ales, dark ales, lagers, and mixed fermentation brews. Those types of brews are what you can expect from a London spot, where darker beers are preferred.
8. Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! In Québec, Canada
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! in Québec, Canada, offers up beer worthy of the exclamation point in the name. If you’re looking for a taste of Canadian beer with a French influence, this is the place for you.
7. Mikkeller In Copenhagen, Denmark
Mikkeller in Copenhagen, Denmark, is world-renowned. Their range of beers, wines, spirits, merchandise, and community spaces make them the epitome of craft breweries.
6. Browar PINTA In Wieprz, Poland
Browar PINTA in Wieprz, Poland, was the first craft brewery in Poland. They’ve been brewing since 2011, churning out exceptional beer. If you need a reason to travel to Poland, PINTA makes for a great choice.
5. De Struise Brouwers In Oostvleteren, West Flanders, Belgium
De Struise Brouwers in Oostvleteren, West Flanders, Belgium is a fine example of the amazing things in Belgium. It’s one of two Belgian breweries on this list. It’s a microbrewery with a unique focus on American-style craft beer.
4. Siren Craft Brew In Finchampstead, Berkshire, England
Siren Craft Brew in Finchampstead, Berkshire, England, is a unique brewery producing a range of craft beers. They won the title of Supreme Champion Beer of Britain in 2018.
3. Buxton Brewery In Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Buxton Brewery in Buxton, Derbyshire, England, specializes in full-flavored craft beers made with hops from around the world. Buxton’s has grown exponentially since they started in the family garage in 2009, now they’re a recognized name across England.
2. Garage Project In Wellington, New Zealand
Garage Project in Wellington, New Zealand, is a prime example of the amazing beers being made in New Zealand. They’re a small operation with a fitting name, and they’ve been going strong since 2011.
1. Cantillon In Brussels, Belgium
Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium, is the second of the two Belgian breweries on this list. Boasting beer cellars and brewing equipment from 1900, Cantillon is the spot in Belgium for a beer tasting and some take-home purchases too.
The World’s Best Breweries: The World’s Best Brewery Crawl
The best breweries worldwide are an inspiration for every brewery owner. That said, when it comes to your own brewery, draw inspiration from the best, but make it your own as well. The best thing your brewery can be is a unique place where beer lovers can find something new, yet familiar too.
"Key Takeaway: The best breweries worldwide are important for a brewery owner to pay attention to for two reasons. One is: you can draw inspiration from these spectacular breweries. The second is: looking into these breweries spanning the globe shows you how well-loved beer is."
Brewery Business: Brewing Up Something Special
This guide to running a brewery business sets you up for success with your brewery project. There is plenty you need to know, and now that you’ve read through these steps, you’re ready to get started.