I know it's been a long time since my last post on Hob Knob, but it's been crazy busy! Big things have changed for us as a brewery-in-planning. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with making beer. The wife and I are just weeks away from expecting our second child and extremely excited about that! Unfortunately, that was also the main reason we decided to put the brewery on hold indefinitely. The wife and I were going to have to go all in on the brewery (investing about 85-90% of our life savings to this point). Couple that with the fact that two other breweries just opened within 5 miles of my house (on top of the other 2 that are already in operation - so 4 total), and the wife and I determined that it would be just too risky with the kids. Not to mention, I'd hardly ever be home. I've started other successful businesses in the past, and time becomes a very rare commodity.
That doesn't mean I've given up on the beer industry - far from it! I just had to find a unique way to stay involved. There have been little spinoff's from the efforts to get Hob Knob off the ground that will allow me to stay active in the industry I have been obsessed with for the better part of 5 years now.
The Brewery Business Plan
Project #1 is the Brewery Business Plan website which I completed last month. For the last 3 years, I poured my heart and soul into developing a comprehensive business plan for a brewery that couldn't fail. It was an endeavor that took hundreds of hours worth of research, planning, and development to create a business plan more than 100 pages in length. To build something like that just to throw it to the wayside didn't seem like a good option. Hence, brewerybusinessplan.com was formed, and I began selling my business plan to help other breweries get started. Developing a business plan is a daunting task to many startups, however, by using Hob Knob's business plan as a guide, other breweries have been able to save a ton of time and money, not to mention overcome the writer's block that so often accompanies projects of that nature.
To further assist breweries in planning, I offered to customize elements within the plan and offer consulting services on startups, operations, technological & web applications, employment, and marketing. My weak point was the production process I haven't brewed on systems larger than 1 barrel. Luckily, while I was developing the business plan, I met a few key people who helped me fill in the gaps on things like production. I was fortunate enough to cross the path of Dan, a professional brewer of more than 15 years, who knew more about beer production, recipe formulation, and yeast than anyone I've ever known. Dan has agreed to make up the other half of our brewery consulting team that will allow us to offer some really indepth consulting services to breweries of all kinds. Speaking of which, I need to update our consulting page.
I'm pleased to say that the microbrewery business plan has been relatively successful. I've been selling around 1-2 plans per week, and get to routinely talk to people just as interested in learning about craft beer and starting a brewery as I am talking about it. The only real issue is advertising isn't cheap. Which leads me to project #2 I'm working on.
Brewerish - A Website Dedicated To Craft Beer Professionals, Homebrewers, and EnthusiastsAdvertising on other beer related sites for selling the brewers business plan was at best expensive, and at worst, completely unfeasible. I needed a way to help cultivate future breweries without spending an arm and a leg to tell them about our services. That's when brewerish.com was born. Brewerish.com - "We Speak Beer". Ok, yes it's cheesy, but have you tried finding any decent domains with beer or brewer in the name...they don't exist! Brewerish will be the mecca of craft beer online. Dozens of breweries blog, so why not do it on a site dedicated to the industry? Thousands of homebrewers have questions about the brewing process, so why not chat about them in some homebrewing forums? Professional brewers often face similar issues as other professional breweries, so why not create a professional brewers forum? To be a part of something that embodies what the craft beer movement is - and not just be a part of but facilitate that movement - would be something I would really enjoy doing. And so, I've been developing the concept of brewerish.com for the last few weeks. The blogging section of brewerish.com is almost done, the forums will soon follow, and the main site itself should be completed a few weeks after that. There are lot of incredible people who know just about everything there is to know about beer who have pledged their support and contributions, so stay tuned - or - if you have some suggestions on what you'd enjoy seeing on the site, let me know! :)