Failure to Launch a Brewery

So you’ve been brewing beer for a few years and love sharing your brews with your family, friends, neighbors, and plumber? You figure, why not share my hard work with the rest of the world, and make money while working my dream job? Many others have had the same idea. A lot of the craft breweries that you know and love today, started with a passion for home brewing. You may be familiar with some of the larger success stories (Sam Adams or Dogfish Head) but you never hear about the breweries that failed to succeed. This is my (much shortened) story of failing to launch a brewery in Toledo, OH in 2014.

Scratching the Itch to Start a Pro Brewery

Marriage is a beautiful thing isn’t it? Not when it takes you 16 hours to reach a small island off the coast of Belize. That’s where the planning of my brewery began. I had a jet lagged wife, and a lot of spare time. Besides the 2 planes, 2 taxis, and 2 ferries it took to get to this island, the wedding was pretty exhausting too. Did I mention this was my honeymoon? While my wife napped, I was curiously looking at the prices of commercial brewing systems to see it was feasible to build a brewery. They ranged from 1-7 bbl’s (barrels) and cost $10k-$90k depending on the design, aesthetics, and degree of automation. If you’re unfamiliar, 1bbl is 31 gallons. It only took a couple days for me to convince myself that I needed to open a small brewery. Besides worrying about the cost, I was also wondering where I would put all of this equipment.

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