With all the excitement surrounding opening a brewery, there are some realities an aspiring brewer must reconcile with to make this dream work. Brewing beer is fun and owning a brewery is more fun, but at the end of the day, it narrows down to owning a business. What’s the best way to start a brewery? By crafting a business plan, knowing your costs up-front and spending time with a successful brewing operation.
How would one go about all of that?
Here’s a suggestion: Oregon State University’s Craft Brewery Startup Workshop II, launching April 21, allows students to explore brewery startup by developing a business plan and receiving guidance on an entrepreneurial strategy. Ninkasi Brewing Co. will host students with the best plan for the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to visit their facility in Eugene, Ore., and explore a brewery operation that began in 2006.
Ninkasi founders, Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd, offered last year’s participants in the Craft Brewery Startup Workshop the same opportunity and hosted Jerry and Susan Larson of Boise, Idaho at the Ninkasi headquarters in February 2014.
“Since Jerry and I are both engineers with no sales experience, we both wanted to learn more about sales,” said Laron in the press release. “We spent a day riding around with one of the Ninkasi salespeople in Portland. That was fun and enlightening — kind of an ah ha moment for both of us.”
The workshop also draws on the expertise of Dick Cantwell of Elysian Brewing Co., Aaron Brodniak of Sirius Brewing and other industry experts in the Pacific Northwest to provide guidance and networking opportunities to future brewery entrepreneurs.
“Unfortunately we don’t just get to make beer,” said Cantwell in the press release. “Having the opportunity to see an active brewery operation will help entrepreneurs see the many aspects of day-to-day operations.”
Offered partially online and then onsite, students will receive feedback on business plans and discuss decisions related to raising capital, equipment planning, ingredient sourcing to name a few. After two weeks of online instruction, students will travel to Portland, Ore., dubbed the nation’s top-ranked craft microbrewery city in the nation by Travel and Leisure, for four days of instruction, networking and panel discussions designed to refine business plans.
Once the course concludes, Cantwell and Brodniak will review the business plans completed by the students and determine who has the best plan to open a successful craft beer operation. If you would like to bring your beer to the market or open a brewery and have behind-the-scenes access to Ninkasi Brewing Co., visit pace.oregonstate.edu/beer to learn more or register for the course.