Lessons on opening up a new brewery

One of the greatest things about the craft beer industry is the support you get from people already in it.  People that have “been there, done that” love to talk about it and share their experiences.  If you make a dedicated effort to really become a part of it, they’re willing to guide you, because everyone wants to see Craft Beer succeed.

With that in mine, as a few before me have done, I plan to keep you updated on the developments of Departed Soles Brewery.  I think that it would make a great reality tv show, personally, but I’m not sure how to film a pilot and put it in front of someone with network pull.  A young, budding entrepreneur putting it all on the line to chase his dream, in memory of his best friend, in an industry that almost everyone embraces, with a goal of helping others who lost the ability to enjoy the product get it back again.  Captivating, right?

Anywho, what I am quickly learning is the trials and tribulations of starting a business, and I am just at square one!  Not only do you need a great business plan and the ability to sell it to investors and otherwise supporters, you need to convince them that your idea is the bee’s knees.  On top of that, you need to get the almighty township, county, state, and federal government to be okay with that you are doing.  Not easy!

My suggestion to you, on day one?  Before you fall in love with an empty space that you can call your own (or the brewery’s own), talk to the city it is in.  You’ll never get anywhere if they’re not supportive of your cause and it could lead to a lot of inaccurate data in your business plan if you are always relocating in the Word World.

The way I see it, picking a location is sort of like the courtship process with a new girl.  There are plenty of fish in the sea, and the most attractive fish may not want you, or may play hard to get… REALLY hard to get.  Talking to the city can give you a great idea whether there is potential for a healthy, long term relationship between your business and them, which is something you need to be successful in this industry.

Don’t be afraid to toss a red flag on a town.  There is always one just across the city lines and people will travel for great beer and a great atmosphere to enjoy it in.  If the town tells you that they won’t talk to you, only your company’s lawyer… or that you can open you place, but only on this block, where rents are ridiculous, rodents are everywhere, and rents are high… and it will take you at least a year to get the 3902 variances they’ll make up to get money from you… just hang up the phone and move on.

Cities can be a thorn in the side for businesses and you can tell it from day one.  There are 304 cities in New Jersey (I think).  Lots of them will meet your demographic criteria.  Almost all of them will have an empty space that fits your equipment.  One town out of 304 is 0.01%…


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