Business Plan Resources for Craft Breweries
Your brewery may have its roots in your passion for craft beer, but in order to succeed as a business, you’re going to need more than that: you’re going to need a strong (and flexible) brewery business plan.
Think of your brewery’s business plan as a “living document.” As your business grows and evolves, your business plan will need to catch up to those changes—and make further changes to help you plan ahead. It’s the road map that will help you make your dream of a successful brewery a reality.
The Components of a Successful Brewery Business Plan
- Executive summary: this is a “snapshot” of your business.
- Company description: here you’ll describe what your brewery does. Do you brew your own beer or contract with another brewery? Do you have a canning or bottling line? Do you distribute on your own? Do you operate a tasting room? Participate in festivals?
- Market analysis: a cold, objective look at the craft beer market is vital to the success of your brewery, and this is exactly the place where for all the information you gather. Are you in an area of the country that’s saturated with craft breweries? If so, what makes your stand out from the crowd? Are you in a region where craft beer is still very much on the grow? How can you ensure that you stake out your “territory,” or perhaps convert new craft beer fans? Who are your biggest competitors, and why? This is a fantastic opportunity to consider what makes your brewery special.
- Organization and management: a successful business doesn’t simply fly by the seat of its pants (so to speak). It requires leadership to take focus on staff management, finances, marketing, production or service, and many other areas. What sort of staff structure will your brewery begin with? What will be your top priorities as you are able to staff up?
- Service or product: what sort of lineup will you offer customers? How will you get your beer to those customers—through distribution, a tasting room, both? What about swag?
- Marketing and sales: how do expect to reach potential and current customers? What is your sales strategy?
- Funding: how much money will you need for the next 3-5 years, and where will you get it?
- Financial projections: how will revenue—and expenses—grow?
Why Do You Need a Brewery Business Plan?
If your brewery seeks outside funding, it’s a pretty sure bet your potential investors will want to see your business plan. They’re going to want to see the thought that you’ve put into your business’s future success—and they’re going to want to see the type of growth you anticipate, and how you expect to achieve it.
That’s reason enough to construct a solid business plan. But even more that impressing potential investors, your business plan should be constructed as a road map for you and your team.
Opening and running a business isn’t easy—but great planning makes it a little less difficult. For more resources on crafting your brewery business plan, check out a handy list compiled by the Brewers Association.
Many of the discussions we have at the Brewers Association (BA) revolve around resources and ideas that are specific to the beer industry. We focus on technical brewing, acquiring the right ingredients, building a brand, marketing beers, passing OSHA inspections, and complying with the TTB, among other things. Yet, there is a foundation to breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms alike, that is the common thread of all businesses. That foundation is a well-constructed business plan.
Business Plan Resources:
- Let’s start with two presentations from our CBC seminar archives:
- Writing Your Brewery Business Plan is a step-by-step review of the necessary elements within a business plan and why those things are important.
- Successfully Planning, Starting and Operating a Nano Brewery offers a broad overview of the planning process with highlights on fundamental considerations for both launching and growing a brewery.
- The Nuts & Bolts of Great Business Plans – An often cited (and very comprehensive) guide to the broader and finer points of creating your business plan. This 30-page PDF document is updated yearly and provides excellent details on the what and why of each section in the outline.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great general resource for businesses. They offer a step-by-step tool that explains each section of the business plan template, along with a place to input your specific business information along the way.
- SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner with the SBA, has a variety of resources geared toward creating business plans and starting small businesses. This includes a 60-minute webinar on One Page Business Plans, an on-demand Developing a Business Plan course, articles about business plan creation, and even mentorship opportunities.
- For those who prefer educational videos, BizPlanTemplate.com offers a free business plan template paired with a 10-minute tutorial explaining each section.
- If learning on the go is of interest, scribendi.com offers a very succinct podcast outlining How to Write a Business Plan. For those starting from scratch, this is a good primer for the deeper dive into more detailed templates.
Contact the specialists at G & H Financial Insurance for assistance with your brewery or distillery insurance at 281-395-5497.