Starting a nanobrewery is a great way to get into the brewing industry. A nanobrewery is a small brewery that produces less than 15 barrels of beer per day. This makes it a perfect option for those who are just starting out, as it doesn’t require a lot of startup capital or space.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own nanobrewery business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Nanobrewery Business
1. Choose Your Type of Nanobrewery Business
The first step in launching a nanobrewery business is to identify the type of nanobrewery business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- A brewpub that sells its beer on-site
- A microbrewery that distributes its beer to stores and restaurants
- A contract brewing company that brews beer for other companies
2. Name Your Nanobrewery Business
Give your nanobrewery business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your nanobrewery business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your nanobrewery business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that people will want to buy your beer.
3. Determine Your Nanobrewery Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a nanobrewery business including:
- A brewery that only sells its beer on-site
- A brewery that distributes its beer to bars, restaurants, and stores
- A contract brewing company that brews beer for other companies
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 nanobrewery business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery business structures.
5. Write a Nanobrewery Business Plan
All nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What is a nanobrewery?
- What types of beer do you brew?
- Where can I find your beer?
- Are you only in (state)?
- How much space do you need to start a nanobrewery?
- Do you have any recipes that I can try?
- Any advice on starting a nanobrewery?
- How much does it cost to start a nanobrewery?
- What type of equipment do you need to start a nanobrewery?
- Who are your suppliers?
- What are the biggest challenges you face as a nanobrewery?
- Can I get a tour of your brewery?
- How many barrels of beer do you brew in a year?
- Do you bottle or can your beer?
- What are your favorite beers that you’ve brewed?
- Do you have any seasonal beers?
- Do you sell growlers?
- What is the price of a growler?
- What is the ABV of your beer?
Read our article about how to write a nanobrewery business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your nanobrewery business.
For example, you will need to obtain a federal license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to manufacture beer. You will also need to get a state brewing license.
You must also register your nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your nanobrewery business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a nanobrewery business to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your nanobrewery 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 specialized nanobrewery software to help with brewing recipes, inventory management and other aspects of running your business.
You can find a variety of nanobrewery software programs available online from various suppliers. Some are free or have free trial periods so you can test them out before making a purchase.
9. Market Your Nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery 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. Nanobrewery businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Sponsoring local events and activities that align with the brand and values of your nanobrewery.
- Distributing branded merchandise (e.g., hats, T-shirts, growlers, etc.) at events and through online stores.
- Developing promotional partnerships with local businesses and organizations.
- Creating targeted marketing campaigns (e.g., direct mail, email, etc.) to attract new customers.
- Offering tastings and educational events at the nanobrewery taproom.
- Participating in trade shows and other industry events.
Read our article about how to market your nanobrewery 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 nanobrewery business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your nanobrewery business to learn more.
Starting a Nanobrewery Business FAQs
The nanobrewery industry is growing rapidly as consumers are seeking out new and unique craft beer experiences. Moreover, starting a nanobrewery is a great way to be your own boss and control your own destiny.
To start a successful nanobrewery business, you need the right location, equipment, technology, software, marketing strategy and team in place. You also need to be able to fund your business and grow it effectively.
There are a number of ways to market a nanobrewery business online, including through social media, blogging, email marketing, and trade shows. Build a website and use social media to start promoting your business. You can also develop promotional partnerships with local businesses and organizations.
Some tips for starting a nanobrewery business include:
- Finding the right location
- Getting the proper equipment and technology
- Developing the right marketing strategy
- Building the right team
- Having enough funding to get started and grow your business
- Knowing how to effectively grow your nanobrewery business
A simple checklist to use when starting a nanobrewery business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Nanobrewery: 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 Nanobrewery 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 Nanobrewery Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Nanobrewery 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 Nanobrewery 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.
Opening a nanobrewery can be a great way to control your own destiny and be your own boss. It’s important to have the right location, equipment, technology, software, marketing strategy and team in place before getting started. You also need to be able to fund your business and grow it effectively. Use the tips outlined in this article to help you start and grow your nanobrewery business successfully.