Building a Brewery

Building a Bigger Brewery: Weeks 2-3

Oct 24, 2016

I'm already getting behind on the written updates.  I guess that's what trying to get a kitchen up-and-running will do!


I was actually able to look at two more buildings, one in Akron and one in Northfield. The Akron building was the first:


Very nice, high ceilings throughout the main part.

Unfortunately, as cool as the building is (and it has some great character), there are a few issues, specifically for me, that will not make it work.

The Northfield Building

This building was recommended by one of our customers, Jim.  I finally got around to looking at it.  The drive wasn't as bad as I thought...20 minutes away and nearly right off the highway.


Imagine the trusses away and temporary floors away. It’s a decent 15 feet to the roof.


One of several loading docks.


Structurally sound. Lot’s of room. No exterior fixes needed.

 The Northfield warehouse is quiet nice.  It has parking if we wanted to put a taproom in.  All I would have to do is to trench-drain what I needed done.  The roof is a little smaller than I would like but the $/sq.ft is on the lower end of what I have been looking at.  It's also a 'clean' building.  Thanks Jim!  This was a good find and will stay on the list.


I spoke with another distributor too.  It was a good conversation.  2 for 2 in saying that I should start by self distributing then when it gets to be too much, call them.  I am starting to 'crystallize' how I would self-distribute and what localities to focus on.


I actually spoke with two lending banks.  One that is a more general bank that does a lot of craft beer lending, another that is not a typical bank but does lending in key commercial markets - craft beer being one of them.  I know what I now need from my tax-guy.


I put in a few more quotes to some equipment suppliers and also inquired on lead-times.  It appears that six months is what it is for US made equipment.  I'm starting to follow the classifieds on ProBrewer to see what used equipment may be had for a shorter lead time.

Contract Brewing (really alternating premise)

I have a lead in for contract brewing too.  Not contract brewing in the regular sense in that I give them the recipe and they do everything from brewing to kegging.  No, it would be 'alternating premise' where I would buy a few 30bbl fermentors for their facility and I would use their equipment to brew.  I would take care of my own fermentors and provide my own cleaners and grain so that I control the quality of the product.  I (most likely Jesse) would do all of the work.  It would save me a few months in the end assuming I would go into a production brewery, but would it be worth it?  The way I see it, in the next 1 to 2 months, we have a kitchen to get online and to focus on the quality of the food and service - trying to force 'contract brewing' at the same time may stretch me.

It may be wisest to focus on this kitchen while 'leisurely' getting financing in order and just keep looking at buildings...which isn't much extra work.  Once we know exactly what the current Valley location needs to run, with food,  in terms of staffing and increased beer sales, then that would be a nice time to 'go' on a production facility...or contract brewing.


I want to thank Ryan from MadCap Brewing, he has recently gone through what I am going through now and has been extremely helpful.

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