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The microbeer thing

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who is seriously thinking about opening a brewpub. He's been experimenting with making his own beers and so forth and so on.

    The hang-up: Is this just a trend that will go the way of other trends in a few years? Are people in it going to lose their ass when hipsters of the world move onto the next big thing? Or is beer connosieurship, like wine before it, something that is timeless and here to say.

    I worry, as does he, that the market is already saturated.

  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    His best bet for success, in my opinion, is to make a great bar first and a great beer second.

    I know a few guys who brewed their own beer and have turned it into a commercial success, opening their own brewery and achieving strong regional distribution, but I'm willing to bet they are the exception and not the rule.

    A good pub can survive all kinds of fads, economic conditions and changes in clientele.

    Opening his own brewpub could be the best way to support the success of the beer, which may eventually outpace the success of the establishment, but I think it would be awfully difficult for the beer to support a mediocre bar.
  3. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Oh, and as for it being a fad, microbrews have been going strong for at least 15 years, I'd bet.
  4. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    A newspaper friend of mine is getting his MBA and for some marketing experience he's helping his buddies who are opening one in Minnesota. My friend is worried about them, though, because they just bought all new equipment. Apparently you can get cheap stuff - that's still fairly new - from places that open and close shortly after. He think they've come in a few years too late and thinks this new equipment they've bought will be in someone else's place in a few years - and they'll get it at a cheap price.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I've thought the market was oversaturated, but it all depends what you want to do. Best thing would be to open up a brewpub at a good location - a place that people would go to regardless of whether the beer is brewed there or not.
    Once you've got that satisfied, brewing your own beer will help keep costs down. And if the beer is good - then you consider bottling and distributing 22s in the area.
    Have your friend check out Beer Wars on Hulu - just being a microbrew with a funny name isn't enough anymore, but there is always room for another good beer.
  6. Fly

    Fly Well-Known Member

    Tough business to crack. Even some good start-ups are struggling, between economy and market saturation.

    If he hasn't had formal experience (working at a brewery/brewpub) as a brewer/assistant brewer, or had formal training (Seibel Institute) I would be very worried, unless he has a whole whack of money to flush away.

    Is he part of a brewing club? I'd recommend joining a very good one, with many experienced homebrewers, before taking the plunge. I've tried a vast number of homebrews, from some great homebrewers, but it's tough to take that and expand to the scale necessary for consistent product at the commercial level.

    My two cents...
  7. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I would think the general failure rate for bars/restaurants much more of a concern than a specific worry about the current trend of sommelier'd beer.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I think most bars/restaurants fail simply because of poor management. Too often someone opens a restaurant knowing how to run a kitchen, but not knowing how to run a business, or they know how to run a business, but have no clue how to run a kitchen.

    The successful restaurateur knows how to do both.
  9. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Pabst Blue Ribbons has more to be worried about when the hipsters move on to the next thing than microbrews do.
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    It might be easier for him to make the beer first, open a tasting room, and then try to sell it to area bars and restaurants. Operating a restaurant is a risky, risky proposition. Of course, so is getting your beer distributed. If he's serious about a brewpub, he'd better get some people with extensive restaurant experience to help. And be ready for some long-ass hours.
  11. Good luck to your friend.

    Don't invest.
  12. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Just make sure there are no rat fetuses in the bottles.
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