Holy crap it takes a lot of money to start a brewery! I am not sure how else I can say this. I am dumbstruck by the amount of capital and effort it takes to get to day 1, the day you can start producing beer. The process of starting any business, especially one like a craft brewery, is a real test of many attributes of your personality. I would say the biggest is your ability to raise, conserve and allocate your money.
I have spoken to several in the business about how much cash I need to do a production brewery, and the range in numbers I get is astounding. For smaller breweries, it seems you can do it for about $400,000, and depending on your lease agreement, size of the space, and how quickly you can start making sales, the number can climb really high from there. Its scary when you hear about how much Red Truck, Red Racer, and others are spending on their new breweries.
For my ambitions and goals, I am hoping that $1.1 million dollars will be sufficient, along with a line of credit to help me out until we get into the black …. likely about 12 months or so (I hope). I do hope to connect a little more deeply with some of the newer breweries to see if this number is realistic or not. I would love feedback from anyone.
A big plus to making things more hopeful to succeed is the tasting room that breweries are now allowed to have. The connection you can make with craft beer enthusiasts, the ability to sample new styles of beer with immediate feedback, and the ability to sell your own beer make gutting it out during the first couple years much more possible. I am not sure how companies like R and B, Storm and even Coal Harbour were able to succeed without a tasting room.
At the end of the day, I like to think that I am good with money. But budgeting in my real estate finances, and the finances of my family is a much different beast than managing the budget for the brewery I am starting.
Tags: Craft Beer, Financing your Start-up, ImStartingACraftBrewery, Vancouver, BC, Starting a Craft Brewery, Cash Is King