Have you thought about opening your own brewery? The thought has certainly crossed my mind more than once and friends, family, and blogging colleagues have all encouraged me to move in that direction. But as romantic as the notion of brewery ownership might be, there is a LOT that goes into operating a successful brewing operation. Quality control, legal concerns, and marketing all matter and one false move could easily bring down the best of intentions. The challenges of brewery ownership are discussed in an educational manner in this book, Brew Your Business: The Ultimate Craft Beer Playbook, written by Karen McGrath, Regina Luttrell, M. Todd Luttrell, and Sean McGrath.
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This book is divided into four sections and it starts off with general overview of craft beer history and culture; general facts about the composition of beer; and a quick crash course on the brewing process. Once the groundwork has been laid, the book discusses brewing science, business licensing, and marketing before closing out with six brewing recipes to get novice brewers headed down the path to prosperity.
Brew Your Business was written by four individuals with various backgrounds in beer, teaching, marketing, and education. The authors want to educate the reader on the many nuances of brewery ownership and they cover all of the basic necessities. Yes, there are many sections that could easily be expanded and as I read, I found myself thinking aloud, more than once, on how different sections of the book could have been extended with even more relevant information. But the book still covers the most important facts and figures to get you started and for that reason, it achieves its intentions.
Each chapter of Brew Your Business concludes with a quick interview from someone in the craft beer industry. I like that the authors chose to ask each person different questions specifically relevant to the individual. Other books include interviews with exactly the same questions posed to each and the reader is often presented with quotes made on topics that have no true relevance to that person. The interviews here, while short, are effectively individualized and they provide good insight into craft beer and its future.
As for the writing, I found that it got better with each passing chapter. The writing in the earlier chapters missed the mark a little, but it quickly improved with each chapter and I enjoyed the book more as I continued to flip the page and sip on a craft brew- my usual companion when I read. There is one typo that was made over and over, however, and that is the use of the word “palette” when the word that should have been used was “palate.” No biggie, I suppose, since it’s a common mistake and everyone knows what they meant. But I am a little surprised that this mistake made its way past the editors so many times.
Opening a brewery is a daunting task. Securing the appropriate capital and finding a suitable location is difficult enough, but the fun doesn’t end there. The budding brewery entrepreneur must deal with legalities such as licensing, label approval, and trademarks while also devoting time to marketing, quality, consistency, and more. It’s a difficult undertaking and Brew Your Business: The Ultimate Craft Beer Playbook is here to inform. It’s a little short and there is much more that could be covered, but it’s certainly a good starting point and a good book to read before beginning your own craft beer business adventure.