New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

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New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Greenhorn » Wed Nov 23, 2016 23:51

Evening.

I've been working in Central London for far too long, whilst living in the wilds of rural Bedfordshire, commuting over 2 hours every day.

I've been discussing the merits of brewing beer with the landlord of my local real ale pub for several years and we're finally sort of getting a vague plan together. I've started getting a few figures together in order to get a feel for the finances and so forth.

Having had a look at a few vendors and the costs associated with setting up a brewery, the main issue is clearly not "can I brew enough beer", but "can I sell enough beer". We were initially talking about a 5, 8 or 10bbl brewery, but that's a lot of beer you've got to shift to make it work. I'll obviously be sounding out all the potential customer pubs in the area, but it's quite daunting.

One thing I am encouraged by is the fact that until last year, our village did have it's own brewery. It was started in the late 90s and was very successful for about 10 years, with beer on sale in just about every non-Greene King pub for a good few miles around. They also had bottle sales in many local shops including a few local branches of Tesco, which is fairly impressive. Unfortunately the two old chaps retired and the new owners didn't, or couldn't maintain either the reliability or consistency. And it all went south. But it does show that there is a local market. We are in an area of few microbreweries, Oakham, Leighton Buzzard and a couple in Cambridge being the closest.

We did discuss the idea of having a small 2.5bbl in the pub itself, but initially I dismissed it as being too small.

But then I did a few sums and looked at it in a different way.

The landlord says we'd be able to sell at least 4 casks each of two beers (he always has between 13-21 pumps on, including the pretty much obligatory bland fizz). So that 8 casks a week would pretty much take care of the output of a 2.5bbl running just once a week. The other two could easily be placed out between the other local pubs or bottled.

The breakdown at £3.80 a pint (after costs) would allow £2 for the pub, 50p for me and 30p as a sweetener for the brewery who own the pub. That 50p would equate to £360 a week wage. Am I right in thinking that a single 2.5bbl brew a week could be processed working two days a week? The vast majority of the beer would be staying on site, so there's virtually no deliveries, and getting casks back wouldn't be an issue.

If I could do it in two days, that would mean I could still do may current job in London 3 days a week, maintain a certain level of guaranteed income and allay some of the risk of "going commercial".

If it became really popular and the demand increased sufficiently, it would be a relatively simple task to up production and cut work in London.

The elephant in the room of the pub-owning brewery, may not actually be all that bad. The landlord has gently sounded them out. Provided they got something out of it, and we had a solid business plan showing how having a nice shiny brewery in the pub would increase trade, they might let us do it.

So, the big question is, is any or some of this idea in any way realistic?
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Rolfster » Thu Nov 24, 2016 09:02

Sounds exciting!
Have you taken into account tax?
Will you be able to pop into the brewery on you working days just to check everything? I know my local brewery has people going in everyday if the year to check everything is ok, and skim yeast and stuff like that.
Have you taken kegs into consideration with pricing things up?

I hope I'm not being too doom and gloom, it was just my first thought!


There are a couple if interesting set up threads on here, well worth a read if you have not seen them.
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Greenhorn » Thu Nov 24, 2016 09:40

Cheers Rolf.

Yes, VAT, duty and duty relief were all factored into the costs. What I hadn't factored in was the fact that the pub has its own well. This has been tested and the water quality is vastly better than the local supply. Provided we can use it, logistically and legally, that would both save money and be a really good USP.

Casks shouldn't be a particularly high cost. Firstly as a simple result of the small output, 10 a week. But also the fact that 8 of those wouldn't even be leaving the premises.

Another cost saving would be possibly not needing a van, again due to most business going on at the pub premises.

It wouldn't be easy for me to personally check on work days. Apart from a look in during the evening. But the landlord is keen and used to work in the brewing industry, so he could keep an eye on things.
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Rolfster » Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:58

Sounds good! :thumb:
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby supersteve » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:14

If you're delivering casks you'll need business insurance on the vehicle, I'd weigh up the added price of that + fuel against the return of the 2 casks your delivering.
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Greenhorn » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:28

Well if they're going to one of the other pubs in the village I'll just deliver by wheel barrow in that case.
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Rolfster » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:01

Greenhorn wrote:Well if they're going to one of the other pubs in the village I'll just deliver by wheel barrow in that case.


:rofl:

....... you may struggle to wheelbarrow insurance.
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby secla » Thu Nov 24, 2016 16:48

Id say having a direct outlet is one of the best ways to make a small brewery succesful. You will make a much higher turn over per cask/keg than you could ever get from selling to other pubs, most people say 10bbl minimum for a startup but if you have direct to public sales i imagine that could be alot less
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Re: New brewery. Ideas and opinions....

Postby Greenhorn » Thu Nov 24, 2016 19:32

That's my thinking. With an admittedly small set up only brewing once a week, there is ample room to expand, should demand increase.

Just got to get the brewery on board.
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