Tag Archives: beer enthusiasts

New Breweries Opening In BC

We are set to be part of an amazing community.  It is the quality of people in this business that not only encourage new breweries, but also support the current breweries in the market.  People like you to be honest.  You read blogs about beer, you support craft breweries, you tweet about beer, you talk to all your friends about the amazing beers you’ve had, and you travel near and far to taste different beers.

The result of this is to encourage new breweries to open.    In fact, I pulled this graphic from the Brewers Association in the USA to show how the number of breweries has skyrocketed over the past 25 years.

126-Brewery-Count-HR

It makes a person ask the question, how many breweries is the market capable of sustaining?  Trying to guess this is like trying to figure out how much higher real estate prices can go in Vancouver.  So I grabbed the closest comparison to beer …. wine!  It made me wonder how many wineries are there now.  I found this graphic from wines and vines and it shows the number of wineries in the USA over the past few years.  As you can see, there are more than 7,500 wineries in the USA, which is about 5,000 more than the total number of breweries.

Winneries in USA

So when I see this, it makes me feel like there is a lot of room in the market for more breweries right?!?!  If there are 5,000 more wineries than there are breweries, then there must be room for anther 2,500 to 4,000 breweries???

So what does all this mean to the number of breweries in BC?  Well, the most excellent beer writer and blogger Jan Zeschky of the Province Newspaper recently published an article on new Breweries opening in 2014 in this great province.  Click here for the full article.  He identifies 19 new breweries that are set to open this year, which will surely be a record for British Columbia.

We are set to be part of this amazing community, and when I think pragmatically about things, I believe there is a lot of room for all the breweries opening up, and more.  So if you dare dream about opening a brewery, or any other business for that matter, do it.  Life is too short to put it off any longer.

I am living proof (and so is this blog) that your dreams can become reality, so long as you have a plan, you spend the time needed, and you surround yourself with amazing people.  Of course, there are a few other details that need to go along with these big picture things, but don’t let them get in the way of following a passion.

So bring on the 19 new breweries this year, and I say bring on another 19 next year and 19 more the year after that.  Lets fill the marketplace in BC with as wide a variety of breweries as possible.  I also hope that these breweries continue to do wild and amazing things with the beer they make.  Lets push the boundaries, lets challenge the ordinary and lets realize the potential that is within each and every brewery in this province.

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Cash Is King.

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