Could Microbrewing Be For You?
Hobby, Part-time Gig, or Full-time Career
If you have spent any amount of time in a pub or bar, whether just before the pandemic or since things have started to open up again, you’ll be more than aware of the popularity of craft beer. It’s opened up a new world to many drinkers, offering a taste experience that is hard to find with the often bland mass-produced beers that were for so long the only thing on offer in any standard bar. What’s more, it has introduced to the scene a range of new names – with the big brands now facing a challenge from leaner, more specialized brewers.
This has opened up the opportunity for a brewing business to people who don’t have the ready capital to build out a whole factory and source the ingredients that the big names can. If you’re someone who wants to make a break into a growing industry that is gaining publicity by the week and shows no sign of stopping, then there are some things you could do with learning about the microbrewing industry which gives us these increasingly popular craft beers.
Understand the market
In most industries, your ambition will be to be as good as the best in the business, to match and then surpass the names that are selling more and opening more bars than anyone else on the scene. In microbrewing, though, the point is not to replicate what the big boys are doing – it’s to find a niche that will appeal to aficionados of craft brewing. That means coming up with a creation that is a little different. Popular craft brews include fruity IPAs and strong-tasting porters, each with their own taste twists.
Understand the process
Craft brewing is no doubt seen by some as being similar in concept to the idea of home brewing – where one brewer in their garage can create a brew that they then serve to friends. If it’s popular enough, they might scale up. Microbrewing is something a little different. You won’t need to buy or hire a warehouse and huge vats, but there will need to be appropriate equipment for mashing, sparging and all the other stages of making a good beer, and a commercial switchboard installation to make sure that you’re only running the equipment you need to be running.
Understand distribution and branding
Where craft brewing tends to differ from standard brewing is that microbreweries rarely have the infrastructure to spread their product nationwide initially, at least in the same way as the big names. Your first obstacle is to get your product into stores and supermarkets locally, which will be easier if you have a strong brand. Good craft beer has a sense of place, so associate each new brew with somewhere meaningful. Think in terms of personality, too – do you feel that your latest brew will suit a brightly-colored can, a stubby bottle or something else? And consider vending via mail order initially – a lot of craft beer fans will order their favorite brews online.
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