Paul Benner had been operating his homebrew shop for 2 years before he opened Platform Beer Co., in Cleveland Ohio. Platform is a microbrewery and taproom. It is also an innovative* brewery incubator. Although business incubators are popular across the world and in a variety of industries—especially in technology—none exist solely to assist brewery startups.
The program is free and, as you could imagine, there is already an extensive waitlist.
The 12-week brewery incubator program teaches and assists on every aspect of brewery startup including:
- Apprenticing with a brewer
- Guidance on financing
- Sourcing equipment
- Selecting a property
- Designing the logo
- Writing the business plan
- Navigating regulatory issues
- Connecting with investors
“You can’t just take your six pack of an imperial stout that everybody loves and sell it,” says Benner.
“You have to become incredibly leveraged, you have to open a brewery. And most people don’t have the business savvy, or the funds, or the resources, or even know where to start.
“We’re literally creating a platform for these people to have the public taste their beer, which is a dream come true for homebrewers! There’s no vehicle out there right now that allows for that.”
Paul’s advice to a homebrewer wanting to start a brewery:
- Start making relationships with your local brewery
- Volunteer, observe, haul kegs, clean stuff
- Read like crazy
- Go to a bunch of brewing trade shows
- Be active in your local homebrew club
- Perfect recipes, make sure each batch comes out similar to the last
* I wanted to say “first-of-its-kind,” but I found something online about The Brewery Incubator in Houston, Texas. Although it looks like it’s no longer operating. I was unable to confirm whether it ever got going at all.
From Cory Waller: What’s your favorite beer to drink?
- Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter.
Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.
An upcoming beer style:
- The Cleveland Brew Shop
- JC Beer Tech
- 3 reasons you don’t need a business plan and 1 reason you do by Nathan Pierce’s blog, September 1, 2014.
You can reach Paul Benner and Platform Beer Co. at:
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