Blog

It Makes Cents

 

Before we sold our first kegs of beer, I spent a tremendous amount of time investigating what similar products were selling for in our markets. I wrote about this in an earlier post, about the need to be careful about under or overpricing your product for a given market.

But that leaves you thinking you can just set a price that is competitive, as long as it seems like you can make money at it. Not quite. Continue reading ‘It Makes Cents’ »

Kegs Revisited

 

Float is that portion of your kegs that are out in the market. Generally, the number of kegs you need for every tap handle you want to support is somewhere around three or four.

You will need one keg hooked up to the handle, at least one keg standing by for when the current keg goes empty, and another sitting empty, waiting to be picked up from the account or returned by the distributor.

Don’t think you can get by with less. Continue reading ‘Kegs Revisited’ »

Year Two

 

So, one year of blog entries down. Normally I need to think long and hard about committing to another year of writing anything, but these blog entries are different for me. I get to say just about anything I want. I get to ramble on about random thoughts, and as long as the topic somehow relates to beer, everyone seems to be OK with it. Cool gig, huh?

But don’t take that as an indication that I don’t care. Continue reading ‘Year Two’ »

The Three IPA Lunch

 

“The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?” — President Gerald R Ford

As a kid, back in the 1970s, I remember hearing about the “three martini lunch” for the first time. I couldn’t imagine how drinking could be part of a business meeting. How could you keep your head and make rational business decisions if you were half in the bag? By the time I was an adult in corporate America, there was more of a stigma against drinking during the business day and we never did. Drinking during the day was forbidden, and that was fine with me. I can’t do a lot of quality work when I’ve been drinking and I doubt others can either. Continue reading ‘The Three IPA Lunch’ »

Half a Bag of Common Sense

 

People who have known me as a homebrewer for a long time often ask me what I think of professional brewing.

“Honestly,” I say to them, “brewing is pretty much brewing. The challenge is on the business side of things.” I find myself spending more time focused on spreadsheets than brew logs these days. Professional or homebrewing, you make wort, ferment it and then package it. The only reason professional brewing is different from high-end homebrewing is the added challenge of making consistent beer that you must sell in a profitable way, every day. Continue reading ‘Half a Bag of Common Sense’ »

The Mighty Heave-Ho!

 

As I mentioned before, I knew distributing beer would be hard work and I wanted to sign up with distributors as soon as possible.

It is not difficult to find distributors that are willing to work with new craft breweries. There are lots of newer, smaller distributors out there and the only way they can afford to take on new product lines is to sign them up as soon as the brewery starts producing beer. But the distribution business is like any other business; there are good companies and bad companies. Continue reading ‘The Mighty Heave-Ho!’ »

The Passion and the Perfection

 

Most brewers will tell you that attending the Great American Beer Festival is one of the highlights of the year for them. It is a big spectacle of beer, brewers, and beer lovers. It is something for every beer geek’s bucket list.

I’ve attended GABF a number of times in different capacities. First as a member of the American Homebrewer’s Association Governing Committee. Another time as a Pro/Am entrant. Later I attended as an author, to sign books for Brewer’s Publications. Other times I’ve attended as a judge. This year I attended not only as a judge/author/governing committee member, but also as a brewer/owner pouring beer at the festival. Continue reading ‘The Passion and the Perfection’ »

Living the Dream

 

I received an email from a homebrewer dreaming of becoming a commercial brewer and he asked, “How late is too late for a determined fool to chase an old dream?”

My answer to him was that it is never too late to follow your dream. The moment you stop pursuing your dreams, you might as well be dead. That is absolutely true and I will always stand by that claim. You should always live life and make of it what you can. But I can’t help but mention the flip side too. Continue reading ‘Living the Dream’ »

Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat

 

I’ve always wondered what the secret is to creating a successful brewery.

By success I don’t mean the place stays open and you are able to pay everyone minimum wage. I want to know what separates the modestly successful from the wildly successful. Continue reading ‘Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat’ »

The Lifespan of Beer

 

I think most brewers would agree, a beer’s life begins the moment the yeast are finished with fermentation.

Ergo, the moment yeast have finished fermentation, the beer begins its inevitable march toward death. Yes, beer has a finite lifespan and everyone who handles the beer has an impact on when that death occurs.  Continue reading ‘The Lifespan of Beer’ »