HOW TO START A BREWERY – PART I

Paperwork and Equipment

Starting my own business has been a dream of mine for years and a brewery seemed like the perfect fit. The dream began with simply wanting to own my own business and be my own boss. The type of business I wanted to start was up in the air. Through my experience as a bartender, living in the great Pacific Northwest and love of beer, I decided that a brewery is what I wanted to do. 

Who am I? Well let me tell you. My name is Damon, I am from Seattle WA and currently live in Spokane WA, where I have started this adventure of starting a brewery. I will share my experience throughout the entire process; from filling out paperwork to brewing my first batch.

If you have similar interests and want to get started on this process as well then get ready for a lot of paperwork and a lot of money for it. I decided to file as an LLC. I started by getting the business registered with the state of WA. That was a quick and fairly easy process that cost a few hundred bucks. Then I needed a residential permit through the city I live in so that I could operate out of my home. There were restrictions that applied to this, one being customers cannot come on premises and I can’t have any visible signs of the business anywhere. As I am just using a detached garage/barn on the property to brew some beer, those restrictions didn’t bother me. My idea was to get my recipes down and figure out what kind of beer I wanted to make. From there I had almost everything I needed, except for the big one, the Brewer’s Permit. This I am currently still waiting to be approved. I submitted it 6 weeks ago and haven’t heard back. I was able to call the TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) and get the name of the person in charge of my application. I received a reply the next day stating they will be reviewing my case in 2-3 weeks. Which puts the total time around 8-9 weeks before they even started to review it. This permit is pretty important if you want to sell your beer. With this permit I can then get the final paperwork through the WA State Liquor & Cannabis board. Without these, all I can do is make a small amount of beer and drink it myself. So, if you are getting started in this, I would recommend you get all the paperwork done as soon as you can. As soon as I got the business name registered, I started on the social media platforms. I created the Facebook page, the Instagram account, and this website. With all of the paperwork and start up processes, be ready to spend over $1,000. 

Once you get the paperwork done or at least started, you need some equipment. I started with a small 5 gallon home brew system. I had never brewed before so I needed to start somewhere. Cost of equipment ended up being around $150-300. Ingredients to make 5 gallons of beer averaged around $40. Once I got that down, I quickly decided this was definitely what I wanted to do and needed to upgrade to some serious equipment. Through the help/suggestion of a friend, I decided to order a SABCO machine. The SABCO 2X system is what I chose to go with and it’s a 30 gallon system that can make two kegs at a time. I have yet to use it as I am waiting on my paperwork and waiting on finishing setting up my space to use it. 

I hope this shines a little light into most of what I have done so far to get this brewery going. Stay tuned for more updates!

​Cheers!

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