Starting a brewery tour business can be a fun and profitable endeavor. However, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own brewery tour business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Brewery Tour Business
1. Choose Your Type of Brewery Tour Business
The first step in launching a brewery tour business is to identify the type of brewery tour business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Private brewery tour business: You lead tours for small, private groups usually by appointment only.
- Public brewery tour business: You lead tours for the general public on a set schedule.
- Customizable brewery tour business: You let your customers choose from a variety of options to create their own custom tour experience.
2. Name Your Brewery Tour Business
Give your brewery tour business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your brewery tour business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your brewery tour business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so people will want to book a tour with you.
3. Determine Your Brewery Tour Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a brewery tour business including:
- Subscription-based: You offer a set number of tours per month or year for a flat fee.
- Pay-as-you-go: You charge customers for each tour they book with you.
- Tiered pricing: You offer different levels of tours at different price points.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the products you offer.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your brewery tour business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your brewery tour business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your brewery tour business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common brewery tour business structures.
5. Write a Brewery Tour Business Plan
All brewery tour business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your brewery tour business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What is a brewery tour?
- What types of brewery tours are there?
- How do I book a brewery tour?
- Where do the brewery tours take place?
- How long does a typical brewery tour last?
- Is food provided on the brewery tour?
- Are drinks provided on the brewery tour?
- What type of transportation is used on the brewery tour?
- How many people can go on the brewery tour?
- Do I need to be a certain age to go on the brewery tour?
- What do I need to wear on the brewery tour?
- What should I bring with me on the brewery tour?
- How much does the brewery tour cost?
- Is a gratuity included in the price of the brewery tour?
- Do you offer discounts for large groups?
- Do you offer private tours?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- What is your inclement weather policy?
- What are the business hours for the brewery tour?
- How do I contact you if I have more questions?
Read our article about how to write a brewery tour business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your brewery tour business.
For example, if you plan on serving alcohol on your tour, you’ll need to apply for a liquor license from the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
You must also register your brewery tour business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper brewery tour business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your brewery tour business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your brewery tour business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your brewery tour business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your brewery tour business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which can help manage your customers’ contact information and tour bookings.
You should also create a professional email address and website for your brewery tour business. Creating social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is also a good way to promote your business for free.
9. Market Your Brewery Tour Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your products and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the brewery tour industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Brewery tour businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Sponsoring local events that are relevant to your target market
- Creating a blog and podcast about beer and brewing, and featuring your brewery tour business as a resource.
- Issuing a press release announcing the opening of your brewery tour business.
- Developing marketing materials (e.g. an overview of your services, an FAQ document, one-page marketing flyer) to send to potential customers and partners.
- Creating social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and using them to share interesting information about your brewery tour business, as well as promoting special offers.
Read our article about how to market your brewery tour business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your brewery tour business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your brewery tour business to learn more.
Starting a Brewery Tour Business FAQs
Brewery tour businesses offer a unique service that helps people discover new craft beers and learn about the brewing process. Brewery tour businesses are also a great way to support local breweries and promote responsible drinking.
If you have a passion for craft beer and want to share your knowledge with others, starting a brewery tour business could be a great option for you.
To start a successful brewery tour business, you need to have a passion for craft beer and knowledge about the brewing process. You also need to be organized, customer-service oriented, and have good marketing and promotion skills.
It’s also important to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency, including a computer with internet access, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and a professional email address and website. Then, determine the mode of transportation for the tours, whether it’s via bus, van, or walking
You can start a brewery tour business from home by establishing a workspace and home office. Then, create a business plan and determine your target market. Set up a professional phone number and email address for your business, and create a website and social media accounts. Ensure that clients can book your services online. Next, determine how you'll pick them up and drop them off for the tour, and purchase the necessary insurance.
There are a number of ways to market a brewery tour business online, including developing marketing materials, creating social media accounts, and issuing press releases. You can also sponsor local events that are relevant to your target market or create a blog and podcast about beer and brewing.
Here are some tips for starting a brewery tour business:
- Outline your business plan and get started on the administrative tasks, such as obtaining the necessary licenses and permits.
- Determine your target market and figure out how to reach them.
- Create a professional website and social media accounts.
- Develop marketing materials, such as an overview of your services, an FAQ document, or a one-page marketing flyer.
- Train your team members on the importance of customer service and how to give a great tour.
- Research the local craft beer scene and visit different breweries to get to know the owners and staff.
- Purchase the necessary insurance for your business.
A simple checklist to use when starting a brewery tour business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Brewery Tour: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Brewery Tour Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Brewery Tour Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Brewery Tour Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Brewery Tour Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your products.
Starting a brewery tour business can be a great way to tap into the growing craft beer industry. There are a number of things you need to do to get started, including developing a business plan, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, and marketing your business to potential customers. With careful planning and execution, you can build a successful brewery tour business.