It’s still a business
"Brewing becomes a very small part of what you do every day. The beer has to be good, but if you’re out of cash or can’t figure out how to do your accounting, you’re sunk. It’s tough. Very tough." - Grant Pauly, 3 Sheeps Brewing
"I think a lot of people forget that it is a business. It’s not just drinking beers with buddies in the back. You have to have your ethos, a payroll. All the stuff that goes along with running a business. It’s really 20% beer and 80% running a business." - Xandy Bustamante, Elevation Beer Co.
"We spent a lot of time building spreadsheets, trying to figure out what kind of revenue would be generated. And a vision for what kind of brewery we wanted. For instance, how big of a place could we afford? And how big of place did we want to manage? How big of a place did we need to make the numbers work? It took us almost five years of planning." - Nico Freccia, 21st Amendment Brewery
You have a crazy amount of competition
"Most breweries are struggling with staying relevant. A new brewery is opening every single day in America. Consumers have so many different options." - Andrew Nations, Great Raft Brewing
"Right now, something like 40% of all draft handles are rotating. That’s a problem. It’s hard to have consistent business when 40% of the handles are turning over on a weekly basis." - Eric Wallace, Left Hand Brewing
"In our county alone we have four breweries and only 18,000 people live here. So it’s all about figuring out how you’re going to stand out and be authentic." - Xandy Bustamante, Elevation Beer Co.
"The landscape is changing dramatically and hyper-local is becoming the theme. People want to buy local, so our challenge is how do you be local in Florida, when we’re not?"
- Dale Katechis, Oskar Blues Brewery
But the community is great
"You get to work with really cool people who are equally passionate about beer and brewing. And who are knowledgeable. If you’re really into beer, that’s just a great experience. You can bounce ideas off each other. I really enjoy doing the tastings with other brewers, because I learn from them." - Jim Koch, Samuel Adams
"It’s just a happy industry. Coming from construction -- where your competitors hate you, your vendors hate you, your customers hate you -- to beer -- where everyone is having a good time -- is so refreshing. It’s such a different mentality. - Grant Pauly, 3 Sheeps Brewing
"Everyone you talk to loves beer and what they do. I think a lot of people in this industry made the same sacrifice -- you know, 'I could’ve made more money, but I did this because I didn’t want to be miserable.' To know that you created something that people enjoy is a great feeling." - Xandy Bustamante, Elevation Beer Co.
"It’s such a great industry. I’ve been in it 20 years and it’s still the sort of mom-and-pop business it was back then. We all go to trade shows every year, and run into the same people. We share stories, we share recipes, we share best practices, we ask each other questions. It’s a cool camaraderie." - Nico Freccia, 21st Amendment Brewery