Today in the Brewery Start-up Series we’re tackling the brewery opening timeline. When you’re opening a brewery, what comes first? When do you need to take serious steps, such as signing a lease? Or, when do you need to apply for a brewing license or permitting? Let’s get to it.
I’ve put together ten steps to opening a brewery, walking through the rough order start-ups tackle important brewery start-up milestones. Keep in mind, this is an overview. Depending on your jurisdiction or the scale of a project, mileage will vary. That’s why, before kicking off the list, it’s wise for start-ups to arm themselves with a team of pros who are one email away, to support the brewing business throughout the process.
Ten Steps to Opening a Brewery: A Brewery Opening Timeline
1. Put together a brewery business plan. This will involve some fringe research into the cost of equipment, facility space, etc., but the start-up doesn’t have to commit just yet. This is the feasibility stage.
2. Select a business entity and form the business.
3. At the same time or just after #2, draft the Operating Agreement.
4. Clear and then file a trademark for the intended brewery name; do the same for the logo and slogan as soon as you have them.
5. Fund the business, if the founders haven’t fully funded it already.
6. At the very minimum of 6 months before intended opening date, initiate your licensing process with TTB. An experienced beer attorney can kick off and review all the paperwork it’s possible to complete before you have physical space.
7. Seek out space for the brewery.
8. With location set (and depending on your jurisdiction), roughly four to five months from intended launch, engage the local licensing agency and complete the rest of your TTB licensing steps.
9. Build out. That means the brewery, but also your brand. Market. Trademark your marquee beer names and all brand material you’d be disappointed to lose.
10. Open shop. Bask in the awesomeness of what you just pulled off, while realizing this whole adventure really just started.