How Do I Become a Craft Brewer?

Beer.
Three types of beer. Craft brewers use traditional methods of brewing beer.
Hops, which are used to make beer.
A beer barrel.
Article Details
  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A craft brewer brews and distributes beer on a smaller scale than larger breweries, such as Anheuser-Busch or Molson Coors. Due to the smaller size of the operation, yet the increasing popularity of craft beer, craft brewing is ideally suited to the ambitious entrepreneur who loves beer and seeks to enter an exciting market. To become a craft brewer, you'll first have to discover your own unique style of craft brewing; you'll then need to learn how to become a craft brewer for either a brewpub or a craft brewery, also known as a microbrewery.

Before you become a craft brewer, you’ll need to have some idea of what brew you’d like to produce. Historically, craft brews branch out with more flavor and variety than the light lagers that larger breweries grew popular for producing. Belgian-influenced amber ales, cask ales, wheat beers, multi-flavored stouts and a myriad of pale ales are the styles of beer that have helped carve out a considerable niche market for the craft brewer.

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To gain an understanding of how these various brews are made, it’s simple and legal in many regions to acquire the basic material for home-brewing. This will allow you to learn the different styles of beer, and experiment to create your own distinguishable brew. Instruction manuals accompanying the purchase of brewing equipment, information on the Internet and classes from brewing institutes can help you in this endeavor. Once you feel you’ve mastered your particular style of brewing, you can look into opening a brewpub or microbrewery to put your brews on the market.

A brewpub is a restaurant establishment that typically contains a brewery within it. Brewpubs often sell a large percentage of their beer on site. There are many elements that need to come together in order for you to become a craft brewer for a brewpub. You’ll need to analyze the market and choose an area where the demographic is likely to respond positively to your establishment. Learning how to acquire business loans, lease a building and deal with employee payroll are indispensable tools to successfully opening and running a brewpub.

If running a kitchen, brewery, bar and wait staff while entertaining the evening rush doesn’t sound like the craft brewing you had in mind, you might open a microbrewery. Microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, generally produce and distribute up to 15,000 barrels a year, most of which are sold off-site. You might install a bar to serve some patrons on-site and to host beer tastings, but by and large, microbreweries sell the majority of their beer to liquor stores and restaurants.

Many microbreweries can get started for a fraction of the cost is takes to start a brewpub. Typically, all you need to start a microbrewery is the equipment capable of producing enough beer to meet demand and the right licenses to legally distribute your product. This means you could technically and legally become a craft brewer from your very own basement. In fact, many microbreweries began in the basement of a home brewer. Successful craft brewers typically must also learn how to hire and manage a brewing staff as well as purchase and operate larger equipment capable of producing higher quantities of beer.

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