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MicroBrewr 063: A hundred-page business plan and barely enough money, with Crazy Mountain Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 063: A hundred-page business plan and barely enough money

At the height of the great recession, Kevin Selvy had a hundred-page business plan and started Crazy Mountain Brewing Company in Edwards, Colorado with $500,000. He calls it an irresponsible amount of money and estimates that nobody should do it with less than $1.5 million.

Nonetheless, he met his 3-year sales estimates within 3 months. After 5 years, their beer is distributed to 18 states and Europe, and they just entered the California markets.

“The best advice I could give,” says Kevin, “is give up your day job and go work for a brewery. When it comes to finding investors, if you can say, ‘I’ve got several years of experience in the industry, I know what I’m doing,’ that goes a lot farther than somebody saying, ‘I just like making beer in my kitchen.’”

Kevin sent his business plan to more people than he could count. He drove 10 hours and slept in the back seat of his car to meet with a potential investor.

“Raising money is a very difficult aspect of starting a brewery,” warns Kevin. “You’re going to get 900 ‘no’s before you get one ‘maybe.’”

Here’s some of his advice:

  • Research your business plan
  • Have a packet ready for when investors ask
  • Don’t give up

Although Kevin’s business plan was about 100 pages, lots of it was graphs and financial tables.

“Make sure it’s very thorough and points a really good picture of what you’re trying to accomplish.”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 20 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 23 tanks, 20-BBL, 40-BBL, and 60-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 1, 40-BBL; 1, 20-BBL; and 1, 60-BBL bright tank.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 17,000 BBL brewed in 2013. 20,000-BBL capacity.

Square footage: 10,314 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 5 years (opened 2010).

“The best advice I could give is: Give up your day job and go work for a brewery.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Kevin Scott: Can you talk about the pros and cons of contracting for raw materials for your beers (i.e, hops, malts, etc.)?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Kevin Selvy and Crazy Mountain Brewing Company at:

Sponsors:

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MicroBrewr 054: Start a debt-free nanobrewery, with Great Storm Brewing.

MicroBrewr 054: Start a debt-free nanobrewery

We all have a dream to start a brewery. Many of us don’t have the money required to start the brewery of our dreams. Lynn Jacobs and her husband, Jeff, started Great Storm Brewing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with no debt. Best of all: They started making a profit immediately.

Great Storm Brewing opened in March 2012 with a 1-BBL system. Lynn and Jeff worked hard at first. But after 6 months they hired the first employee. The success has been so great that they contract brew larger batches under “alternative proprietorship” to help meet demand.

Now approaching their third anniversary, Great Storm Brewing has 8 employees and they’re preparing to install a 10-BBL system.

Lynn’s advice to someone who wants to start a brewery:

  • Save money
  • Practice your brewing
  • Create something you can duplicate on a larger scale

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 1 BBL; in the process of expanding to 10-BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 10, 1-BBL fermenters; expanding to 3, 15-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: none; will get tanks with the new system.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Current 260; last year 187; new system will be 390-BBL.

Square footage: 3,750 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 3 years (opened March 2012).

“As soon as you reach one goal, you make another for yourself.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Russ Neis: How do you adjust a recipe from 10 gallons to a 7 BBLs or more?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Experimental beers

Other resources:

You can reach Lynn Jacobs and Great Storm Brewing at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

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Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery, with Brewery Wastewater Design.

MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery

Wastewater treatment is a key issue for a craft brewery. John Mercer from Brewery Wastewater Design in Montrose, Colorado has more than a decade of experience. He shares wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery.

For every gallon of beer produced, a typical brewery uses 7 gallons of water. If your municipal wastewater treatment plant can’t handle it, you could be facing high fees for wastewater treatment.

Brewery wastewater can fall into one of several categories:

  • Floor drains in the brewery, which contain alcohol, sugars, and other contaminants.
  • Kitchen drains, which includes grease.
  • Restrooms, which typically go the sewage treatment plant.
  • Side stream, which is a way to divert extremely concentrated wastewater such as spent yeast, waste beer, fermenter blow-off, and trub.

If your brewery is in an area that has municipal sewage service, you might not have to do anything. If you’re in the county with no sewage service, you’ll likely have to build your own brewery wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Solutions will vary depending on your brewery wastewater characteristics, or who designs your system.

Diverting the very concentrated sources through a “side stream,” could reduce the contaminants in your wastewater by 90%. Which could mean reduced fees for treatment.

Key questions to ask:

  • Is the wastewater facility at capacity?
  • How much would the fees cost?
  • Does your consultant have experience designing systems for breweries or other food manufacturers?

SPECIAL BONUS:

Ask John any question about wastewater treatment for your brewery.

Leave your questions in the comments section below.

John will keep watching the comments for the next 30 days to answer as many of your questions as he can.

Be sure to connect with Brewery Wastewater Design and thank John for being on the show and for helping us out with questions.

UPDATE: Thirty days is up, John is no longer monitoring the questions here. You can still reach him through the links below. Thanks for your great questions everyone!

Tweetable:

“I came back to brewery work because the people are the greatest and the industry is the greatest.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Megan Tolbert: How low environmental impact is your business?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach John Mercer and Brewery Wastewater Design at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 018: Start a commercial FrankenBrewery for $18,000, with Horsefly Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 018: Start a commercial FrankenBrewery for $18,000

In this episode, I talk with Nigel Askew from Horsefly Brewing Company in Montrose, Colorado. As a teenager, Nigel made beer for his dad in Zambia. In the 1990s he was homebrewing in Los Angeles. When he moved to Colorado, he took his 1.5-BBL homebrew system. He and friends pooled money and started their brewery for $18,000. A year later, they moved to a larger facility and expanded to a 10-BBL FrankenBrewery. Now they’re getting ready for a 20-BBL system.

Horsefly Brewing Company’s main operating tenet is to be fair and honest. Nigel is super generous with stories and advice. He tells us about piecing together their brewhouse, and finding amazing deals on equipment.

He offers some great advice, like:

  • How to get a fair price from your suppliers
  • Don’t over plan
  • Start small
  • Sanitize and clean

Listener question:

From Kristine Dubie: What are the pros and cons of whole cone hops vs. compressed hop pellets?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session beer

Other resources:

You can reach Nigel Askew and Horsefly Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

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