B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Archive for the ‘brewpub’ Category

SYWTOABP: Minimum Viable Market Size

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The So You Want To Open A Brew Pub series ended many moons ago, but people still read it and it has become a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and beer aficionados. Sometimes folks leave comments and questions and sometimes they find my personal email address and write me directly. The most common question is, do I think [insert small Canadian town name] is a good spot to open a brew pub? Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Muskie

December 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

New Ownership for The Moon Under Water

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Moon Under Water brewpub entranceI recently heard through the hop bine that Don and Bonnie Bradley had just sold their Victoria brewpub. When I visited The Moon Under Water for the first time on September 7, I learned that, indeed, was the case. I had the pleasure of meeting Clay Potter and Chelsea Walker, the new owners, who were very kind to spend some time with me during a hectic period (lunch before the GCBF’s first day), relating their backgrounds and hopes for the Moon. Having just gotten the keys to the pub, it was a moment when one often experiences the duality of excitement and dread as you venture into new territory.

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Vancouver Island Craft Beer News: August 15, 2012

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This marks the first installment of a new series of posts about what is new in the Vancouver Island craft beer scene.

Pandamonium Unleashed by Phillips Brewing Company

Hot off the heels of their last limited beer release, Evergreen Ale, Phillips has unleashed PANDAMONIUM. This über-hopped double IPA went out Monday the 13th from the brewery, was field tested by the public at the brewery on the 14th, and is on its way to the Alibi Room for keg tapping tonight at 6pm. Grab it quick before it’s gone at discerning craft-focused liquor stores.

Release notes from Phillips’ Web site:

August 13th 2012: A year ago we celebrated 10 years of brewing with a 10% Double IPA, and this year there was only one way to follow it up: Turn it up to 11!

So we dialed up the malt and hops across the board, and are celebrating 11 years of beers with Pandamonium–a double IPA monster.  Brewed to 11%, we loaded hops into the pre-boil, and then added more hops every 11 minutes over a 111 minute boil for a grand total of 11 hop additions (plus a dry hop).

Hopquakes like this don’t come around very often and we only turn 11 once, so enjoy this brewtiful beast while you can!  Pandamonium 11th Hour IPA is available for a limited time at finer craft-focused liquor stores.

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SYWTOABP: Top 10 Takeaways

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When I volunteered to write the “So you want to open a Brew Pub” blog post series, I had a rough idea of how many posts I was going to need to write, how much time I was going to have to spend researching costs and industry regulations, but in the end I probably spent a lot more time and energy on this series of posts than anyone expected. I tend to write lengthy rambling posts going into more detail than is necessary, so I often go back and rewrite the material into a short, snappy, Top 10 style list of key takeaways.

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SYWTOABP: Industry Research

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The So You Want to Open a Brew Pub series of blog postings is in the final stretch.  I realize I’ve done several posts on market research, but not a dedicated post on industry research.  What’s the difference you ask?  Well, I got asked that once and, basically, market research is investigating the people (businesses) who potentially would buy your product or service. Industry research is everything else: competitors, government regulations, suppliers, etc. Porter's Five Forces for Canadian Brewing Industry

A loyal reader would note we have covered government regulations and suppliers pretty thoroughly, and touched on direct competitors and less direct competition for people’s disposable income. What part of industry research have we neglected? For starters, what industry is a brew pub in?  If you answered brewing, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.  A brew pub is officially classified as part of the restaurant and food services industry. That is the industry most of my research and writing has focused on. However, some of the brew pubs in the province have had considerable success selling beer outside of their pub in kegs, bottles, and even cans.

The recent BC Business article on the craft brewing industry noted the success of Central City. They started making their beer available for purchase offsite. Now demand exceeds capacity, which isn’t a bad problem to have. Their rapid success isn’t unique. Several other BC craft brewers are noted as experiencing very healthy sales growth in the last few years. However, I have to caution anyone thinking of opening a brew pub that thinks Central City’s growth is the norm for new businesses in either food services or brewing. As Central City expands, less of their total revenue will come from retail sales at the brew pub and more will come from packaged product.  Selling bottles, kegs, and cans for consumption elsewhere is what the brewing industry is all about.

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SYWTOABP: What Does a Brewmaster Do?

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I was going to call this post “A Day in the Life of a Brew Pub Brewmaster“, but a more accurate description would be “Discussing Brewpubs with a Brewmaster Over Beers and a Burger”. Regardless of the title, I came away from my meeting with Claire Connolly, brewmaster at Big River Brew Pub, with good news and bad news. The good news is, so far, I’ve gotten a lot correct in this series of blog posts. The bad news? Opening a brew pub will probably cost more and take longer than you’ve estimated.

First of all, let me apologize again to Claire for not arriving on time and for being a bit hot, tired, flustered, etc. Hopefully, I still managed to find out the information I thought people would be most interested in and summarized our chat accurately. There were only five questions I wanted to get answered, but our discussions were expanded several times to talk about the BC beer industry as a whole. Perhaps, Rick will put some of those thoughts down. I will focus on passing on insider tips on running a brewpub and brewing beer at a sufficient scale to service a venue of 100-200 people.

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Written by Muskie

September 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

SYWTOABP: Writing a Business Plan

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This may not be the final post in the series, but writing a business plan is one of the key steps necessary to opening a brew pub or starting most any business.  You need the business plan to apply for financing or perhaps to secure a lease or even a key permit or license.  Writing a business plan is work.  A great amount of time can be spent refining a business plan and more business plans get written than get financed.

Writing an entire business plan was never a goal of this blog series, but providing some of the numbers, resources, and information that goes into a business plan was among the goals.  I found a pub business plan posted online that was made available for free, specifically to help others open a bar.  Brewing beer was not part of this business plan.  It is dated but with the exception of including brewing as part of the operations and brewmaster among the key staff it has all the major sections you can expect to see in the average business plan.

It is still available on the forum I found it, but I also put a copy on WordPress.com to ensure that it remains available as long as this blog is online. The numbers are mostly all there, but need to be revised and adapted for the new decade and British Columbia.  Part of that work was done by me in my big spreadsheet post.  I thought we should look at the major sections of an actual business plan and the information they should contain. Potential investors and funders will want answers and if you don’t even know the questions, you will look foolish in a key meeting that may determine the future of your dream.

You can’t anticipate every question, but the most important questions such as the experience of the team, the depth of the market and industry research, the veracity of the sales forecasts, the details of the startup costs, these can be researched and written up prior to any important meetings.
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