Opening your own brewery

So…You’ve been a home brewer for years, you’ve won a few awards in local competition. Everyone enjoys your beers and you enjoy making them.

Or maybe you and some friends in college made beer every weekend that after a while ended up being rather drinkable. With every sip you thought to yourself, “Can I do this?”

Or perhaps, you’re tired of working in a drab building, staring at a computer all day going over spreadsheets. The soft rock droning from a radio in the cubicle next to you makes you wonder – Will this always be my life?

Regardless of where you are or what you are doing, there is a dream you have. You think of it every day. This dream is always there.

You want to open your own brewery.

And you’re not alone. The industry has seen amazing growth in the last several years. 2011 saw 88 new Brewpubs and 187 new Microbreweries. 2012 saw 99 new brewpubs and 301 new microbreweries. The final report of 2012 shows there’s 2,403 breweries in the U.S. That’s the highest number we have seen since there were 2,011 breweries in 1887 – Before the temperance and prohibition movements, when local breweries were at the center of every community.

In Portland, where I brew and soon plan to open my brewery, there are already 51 breweries. (Perhaps another couple by the time I finish this article) and according to my friends at the SBA, there’s at least 50 New Brewery Business Plans in their queue to be pitched to banks right now.

At what point is there enough? Are we too late? Have we reached a saturation point? These are good questions to ask yourself. They will certainly be posed to you by your friends, family, investors and your bank.

And the answer is no. We have not reached a saturation point. Starting your own brewery is possible and we can help make it happen. We are not even yet seeing a slowdown. Craft beer has just this year only reached 7% of overall beer sales. The product vacuum and demand is still strong and the movement of consumers seeking out local, independent, craft artisan products appears to be spreading.  We have just now reached roughly the same amount of breweries there were at the pre-prohibition peak.

But lets consider population: In 1887 there were 51,465,053 American Citizens. This year there are 316,278,000 of us. That’s alot of thirsty people – adjusting for capita, we should have room for 14,802 Breweries before we reach the Pre-Prohibition per capita peak. That’s room for at least 12,399 new breweries.

Granted, this number would largely be comprised of small, local, brewpubs, rather than production breweries, but that’s plenty of room for all you aspiring brewers to ditch that tie, don the rubber boots, and grab the mash paddle. Opening your own brewery is an obtainable dream and we can help make it happen.