Many home brewers, including myself, have dreamed about bringing a particularly good beer to market. The problem with this are the fairly high barriers to entering the commercial beer market. This first hurdle is experience. How does a brewer build commercial experience without getting a job at an existing brewery (which require commercial experience). Next is, of course, money. A typical craft brewery can coast upwards of $750,000. This is not a trivial amount to raise even with the many new and exciting ways to do it. Once you have the experience and the brewery, next is proving marketability of a beer so you can get it distributed. Finally is marketing. Creating a brand that will carry you from this original pilot beer forward to profitability. These are the problems that have consumed my life for the last couple years, as I researched, and developed, a business plan for a new type of brewery. One that focused as much on making it's brewer's successful as it did on making good beer.
Craft Beer Studio is a 100% contract facility with a very specific focus: Providing equipment and services to help new brewers navigate the path to becoming a successful craft brewer. The primary services are recipe analysis/consulting, equipment training, industry training, marketing, and distribution. The facility itself is broken up into "studios". Each studio contains a self-contained brewery, starting out with 1/2 barrel pilot systems. These systems are managed like a typical "U-Brew". Where the public is free to rent the room for a single batch, and leave with bottled product. These rooms, for the member brewers, are where we refine recipes. Beer brewed on-site by member brewers are then available on-tap in the public tap room. Here we gauge interest and gather feedback. The next step up is the nano-grade studio with a 3-5 Bbl system. Once a brewer has produced a successful beer that requires greater quantities to keep up with demand, this brewer will move to the nano studio. Here the brewer will gain valuable commercial experience. Not only does this studio provide valuable equipment knowledge, but with the quantities produced, there is also a possibility for greater distribution outside of the studio tap room. Here the brewer fine tunes his recipe for production at commercial scale and builds a commercial reputation. Finally, the full scale studio is a 15Bbl brew house. This studio functions as not only the final stage of a brewer's progression into the field, but also a source for additional income. Contract capacity is at record lows in New England, and all indications are that any capacity offered will be quickly filled. The full scale studio also provides packaging beyond simple bomber bottles and 7.5gal kegs, through partnerships with mobile canning and full sized keg leasing programs. Craft Beer Studio is a scalable business model, both from an operation, but also from a start up point of view. Initially, the studio can enter the market as a nano brewery/tap room. Allowing brewers to enter at any level to take advantage of the studios in operation. The market viability of the enterprise can then be measured more accurately. Once proven, expansions can be planned, with the final large scale studios added when needed. Business planning is nearing completion with all startup and operational costs determined.