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To brew or not to brew- Things to consider when setting up a microbrewery

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Things to consider when setting up a microbrewery
Written by Anna Lemos- Anna is a creative content editor and strategist at Quick Formations, AKA Quick- an online Ltd. Company registration and formation service. Here Anna talks us through some of the things that nned to be considered if you are thinking of starting up a microbrewery. 


To Brew of Not to Brew, That is the Question...

For the last few years, there has been a craft beer revolution and breweries are popping up all over the UK. However, starting your own brewery isn't as easy or romantic as it is made out to be.

If you think you can turn your brewing passion into a business, then go for it, but we recommend you keep a few things in mind.

 

Drinking behaviours

The Brits are known for their drinking — especially when abroad — but what are their habits in their own country?

The market share in alcohol can be broken down into spirits, beer, cider/perry and wine. When it comes to beer, East England has the biggest market share for its area (46%), but not the highest units of alcohol consumed per adult per week (only 16.7). However, the North East of England comes in close behind with 45% market share and a whopping 19.8 units consumed per adult per week bringing it into 4th position in Great Britain. Following the beer trail, London and Yorkshire follow with a 41% market share in their respective regions.

In Central Scotland, it would seem that beer is the least popular choice of alcohol. This is not to say that you won't be able to set up a successful brewery in areas such as this, but it might be an idea to consider the drinking behaviours of various regions when choosing your location if you have that luxury.

Check out the infographic below, for more detail.

 

Infographic courtesy of Quick Formations
Drinking Behaviours in Great Britain

Crafting a plan

Like any startup, you can't just brew away and assume you'll be successful. Particularly in the British brewery scene, there are a series of things you need to consider.

Education

Several brewers claim that, to start you own brewery, you must have started brewing at home for several years. Not only is this to find the taste you want your beer to embody, but also to realise that the art of brewing is not as romantic as it seems. You need to truly love it if you want to monetise on this hobby.

Then there are the likes of Brewlab that will offer you an education on the brewery business as a whole. This could be vital to understanding the craft beer landscape in the UK and beyond.

 

Space

Once you've succeeded in brewing your on craft beers at home, you'll need to upscale your production. This means finding space and equipment to start your own microbrewery.

As you've realised, your equipment will take up a lot of space so finding a location that fits your needs is paramount. You're in luck. Many urban spaces lend themselves well to brewers because they are hard to sell due to their untraditional layouts. Taking advantage of these spaces will work in your favour, particularly as planners will want to transform disused buildings in order to revitalise communities.

Redchurch Brewery in Bethnal Green is a great example of a brewery that used railway arches as the prime, quirky, spot for their beers.

Things to consider when setting up a microbrewery

Hygiene

Like any other sector in the food and beverage industry, hygiene is one of the most important aspects of your business. You'll have to follow strict rules and regulations on this which means you'll have the unromantic task of cleaning out your equipment daily. That is not a pretty picture.

 

Branding

You're going up against some pretty lethal beer giants on your road to glory as well as very successful craft brewers. Your branding and packaging is what will give your beer a chance to stand out. 

Craft beer drinkers want to know what your brewery is about. By this I mean your personality. You can go hand-drawn images, geometric graphics or as minimalist as you want. This is a great chance to talk to designers or illustrators who need a helping hand and let their style shine through. If they know the journey of your beer, then they'll be able to embody it on a label.

Remember, this craft beer revolution came about as a revolt against mainstream beers. Imperfection, rebellious and/or out of the ordinary imaging and names are all perfectly acceptable routes to go down.

 

Bottling

Here comes the hard part, the packaging. You need to be able to bottle or can your brews on large scales — or at least larger than what you were bottling at home.

Obviously your budget comes massively into play here, but you might also want to consider how green you want to be. With increasingly worrying environmental issues, it may pay to use eco-friendly packaging.

 

Selling your brew

You've got your new brew bottled and ready, but you need to be able to sell the stuff. Many small brewers reach out to bars, pubs and licensed shops in their area. Similar to the rebellious nature of craft beer, people are also having a bit of a revolt against globalisation. You'll find that people within your community can be very supportive and some would rather help the shop down the road rather than buy from corporate giants.
 

Some microbreweries open their doors to the public. You could simply sell your beers in-house and create a bar, although you will have to sort out your licensing. 

Figuring out how to sell your beer is vital to the success of your brewery. Talk to other brewers for advice and help. Other places to sell simply involve reaching out. For example, Honestbrew sell beer online.

The British brewery scene is more of a community than a cut-throat competition. If you think you're made for it then go for it. Don't be scared to talk to other brewers, make sure that you're ready for the less romantic side of brewing (all of the cleaning) and educate yourself before launching into an expensive, but self gratifying venture.

Things to consider when setting up a microbrewery


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Published on: 23rd November 2016

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