Have you ever thought about opening a microbrewery but wasn’t sure what kind of work and expectations would go into such an endeavor? Some of our local craft breweries were kind enough to let us know what they wish they had known before they opened the doors to their very successful breweries. Let’s take a look!
Jay Wince, Weasel Boy
What you wish you had known before opening a brewery: How difficult it would be to break into our own local market as far as having our product available at other local outlets. We are draft only and small local bar/restaurant owners are hesitant to take off a huge world renowned brand and put us on, even though we are local.
Open for: 7 years
Production during your first year: First 12 month year production was 225 bbls.
Production now: 2013 was 530 bbls.
What keeps you successful? Unique establishment in our area and keeping beer quality high and consistent.
What you wish you had known before opening a brewery: A little more about the mechanical/equipment side of operations (water, pumps, boilers etc)
Open since: Making beer since 4/20/13
Production during your first year: We came in around 1100 bbls of beer last year and hoping to do a little over 2000 next year.
We have 6 15bbl, 1 15bbl brite, 2 2bl ferms, 1 30bbl ferm 1 30bbl brite. We are switching 4 of our 15bbl ferms with 3 30bbl brites in about 1 month. Production level depends on type of beer, yeast, hopping schedule, fining schedule etc
What keeps you successful? Great beer!
Dan Cochran, Four String
What you wish you had known before opening a brewery: I wish I had known how many kegs are needed! It takes a lot of kegs to get your beer out there!
Open since: I moved into our current building in April of 2011, and started selling beer in November of 2011.
Production during your first year: 225 bbls per year
Current production: 2600 bbls per year
What keeps you successful? Fear.
Craig O’Herron, Sideswipe
What you wish you had known before opening a brewery: That’s a long list. If you run a small brewery, you have to be able to do everything or have good people help you with what you can’t do. I have learned so much “on the job” about plumbing, electrical work, accounting and sales. While brewing is my passion, it is only part of what I do on a day-to-day basis.
Open since: November 2013.
First-year production: We have three five-barrel fermenters and we fill each of them approximately once a month. We expect our production level to continue to ramp up as demand rises. We have had trouble keeping up with demand for some of beers — like Pixelated Sun, our new seasonal beer — and anticipate the need to purchase additional fermenters in the future to boost production.
What keeps you successful? First, I have a great team of people that supports me. Second, I believe it’s our focus on the quality and variety of our products. Our three flagship beers — Coop Looter saision, Fisticuffs IPA and Elegant Hoodlum smoked stout — were developed over nearly a decade of experimentation when I was a homebrewer. At the brewery, we’re constantly brewing tests batches and experimenting with new styles. We plan to release a new seasonal beer this fall that features roasted butternut squash and we think people are going to really like it.