Since 2017, the popularity of microbreweries has been on the increase, with consumers shifting away from mainstream beverages to specialist, craft ones. This isn’t to say that the beer you can buy at your local supermarket isn’t still enjoyable, but rather that people are simply refining their taste as more microbreweries enter the market.
According to the craft beer stats from Europe, the market is currently being driven by a higher demand for microbreweries and craft beer. So much so in fact, that 17% of this increase is predicted to come from the UK in the coming months. As a nation of beer and ale drinkers, it’s not surprising that the UK will play a vital role in the predicted 10.30% increase anticipated to occur throughout 2020. Given the stats, it would seem that the time is right for those looking to break into the microbrewery industry to take that first plunge!
However, as with any new business venture, it’s important that you have all the necessities in place to ensure that you succeed; passion can only take you so far. If you intend to launch your own brewery, you’re going to need several key components in order to do so. Some of these are to do with the equipment needed, while other aspects of building your brand will be focused on organisation and business planning.
One of the most important foundations you can lay for your microbrewery is investing in the right equipment straight off the bat. It’s all too easy to go rushing in, without conducting thorough research, and end up wasting precious money that could have been better spent elsewhere.
Brewery kits and additional materials don’t come cheap; back in 2009 when the founder of The Kernel, Evin O’Riordain, bought his initial kit, the cost was £15,100. This is by no means the cheapest example of what’s out there, but it still effectively demonstrates that you need money if you’re to create the right brewing environment. Take the heating/cooling systems of a brewing kit as a fine example of this: they’re integral to the fermentation process, however working out what you need is harder than it looks. Brewery glycol chillers, for example, are available as both stationary and mobile options.
Finance is Everything
It’s one thing knowing where to invest your cash, but it’s another matter entirely to have the finances available in the first place. For some brewers out there, capital is generated from your previous career and/or nestegg that you’ve been saving for a rainy day. However, for most first timers, the main route that’s traveled down is that of asking friends and family. Of course, while possibly providing a more instant and accessible option, it’s by no means the easiest subject to broach. This is why another popular avenue to explore, especially in these circumstances, is crowdfunding.
Ideally, however, you want to have the capital in place before you begin launching your brewery; just hoping for the best might work for some people, but it’s not the most reliable of methods. Start with a steady income stream and you’ll be able to build a tangible brand that your target market recognizes. But start off with little to no money, scrimping by as you try to establish yourself, and you’ll find yourself having to call it time before you’ve even started.
Microbreweries are a competitive market, as we’ve already mentioned, and so standing out from the crowd isn’t just advisable, it’s a must-have feature of your brand. Nonetheless, while being uniquely different from your competitors is essential, this isn’t to say you have to spend lots of money and time on aesthetics or marketing.
If we return to the example of The Kernel, you can see how their image was, and still is, based on authenticity. Brow, kraft paper labels printed on in black ink is all that decorates the bottles. It’s simple, plain, and direct. By opting for simplicity, the brand has made sure that their beverages do the talking as opposed to unnecessary marketing gimmicks. However, what works for them might not work for your brewery, which is why finding your distinct personality takes research. If you want to be big and bold, you have to make sure you have a strong enough identity in order to compete with other brands who’ve adopted a similar approach.
There’s no golden, one rule fits all for launching your own microbrewery. What it takes is dedication, passion, and applying the right knowledge; if you have those, you’ll be sure to make a notable impact on the growing market.