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Green hops for beer. Man holding green hop cones.

From Homebrewing to Actual Selling

Selling your brews is a lot more complicated than setting up a lemonade stand. Though you can freely distribute homemade beer to friends and family — it’s another thing to market it to the general public. However, if you’re confident your brews can make it big — take note of the few things you’ll need to launch a successful product.


You need to scale up your production if you want to turn serious profits — and this requires a bit of investment. You’ll need enough space to house larger brewing equipment (at least a 3-bbl system), so you might need to make space in your house or even rent a small space. A 3-bbl setup can produce over 500 barrels or around 200,000-225,000 bottles of beer a year. You might need to invest around $10,000-$50,000 in equipment alone — which includes your brewing systems, a piston filler for beer bottling, and refrigeration systems. You’ll also need dedicated electrical systems for your brewing equipment, so you’ll need to hire an electrician. You can start small and run your brewery in your house, but you’ll probably need to move to a bigger space if you want to increase your production and storage.


Like any business, starting a brewery needs tons of paperwork. There’s the Federal Brewer’s Notice that costs around $1,000, state brewery license, local business license, local building permit, and the local health department permits. You’ll need to inform the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) about your production, planned distribution, as well as pricing. You’ll need to get your labels, bottles, and advertising methods approved. You’ll need to divulge your recipes and production methods to TTB, and you need to be ready for production because there will be inspections. You’ll need all these if you want to run a duly-licensed — and legal — brewery. However, waiting for paperwork to get approved can take six months or more as TTB is seriously understaffed — which can take a toll on your finances.


beer bottle Your brews might be the best — but that doesn’t mean a thing if nobody’s heard of them. Marketing is almost as important as production. Spend time in creating your brand. Sometimes a name or logo can spell success or failure. Make sure your brand is striking and memorable — especially to your target market. Spend a few dollars on advertising and don’t hesitate to give out a few freebies during local events. You want to be visible and have people talking about your beer — your brand recognition during those first few years can dictate the success of your brews. Make a website, use social media, attend every local event, and make every possible merchandise with your brand’s name — getting people to recognize and remember your brand will build a solid foundation for your brewing future. Almost every American loves beer — but will they love your beers? If you’re sure the answer is yes — then it’s time to scale up and get the paperwork done and introduce your brews to your community.
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