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?
- Posts: 8
- Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 23:07