Best Practices

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Craft Brewery

Embarking on the journey of opening a brewery in 2024 involves navigating through various financial considerations. The average opening cost can fluctuate based on factors like location, scale, and business model. In this guide, we'll dissect the key expenses associated with starting a brewery, offering valuable insights to help you plan strategically.

1. Strategic Location Investments

Real Estate: Costs vary based on location, whether renting or purchasing. Urban areas may see rental costs ranging from $15 to $40 per square foot annually, while property purchases can range from $500,000 to several million dollars.

When deciding between renting or buying a space for your brewery, it's crucial to weigh various factors, including your long-term goals, financial stability, and the local real estate market dynamics. In less dense areas where open space is abundant, purchasing a property may present itself as a viable option if the price is right. Buying offers potential benefits such as long-term cost savings, equity accumulation, and greater control over the property. Additionally, owning your brewery space can provide stability and flexibility for future expansion and customization to suit your unique brewing needs. 

2. Essential Brewing Equipment

Brewing Kettles: Costing anywhere from $20,000 for smaller setups to over $100,000 for larger systems.

Fermentation Tanks: Budget between $2,000 and $10,000 per tank.

Milling Equipment: Ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

Cooling System: From $5,000 for basic to $20,000 for larger setups.

3. Labor Costs

When considering the financial aspects of running a brewery, labor costs play a significant role. From brewmasters to brewery staff, salaries can vary widely depending on experience, location, and the size of your operation.

Brewmaster: Salaries for brewmasters typically range from $40,000 to $100,000 or more per year. These skilled professionals are essential for crafting high-quality beer and ensuring consistency in flavor profiles. However, their salaries can significantly impact your operational expenses, especially for smaller breweries or startups with limited budgets.

Brewery Staff: Beyond the brewmaster, you'll need additional staff to assist with various tasks, including brewing, packaging, cleaning, and waitservice. Brewery staff salaries typically range from $30,000 to $60,000 annually per employee, depending on their roles and responsibilities.

Introducing Hybrid Service Models: To mitigate labor costs and enhance operational efficiency, many breweries are exploring hybrid service models that integrate technology into their operations. Implementing self-service kiosks, mobile ordering apps, and automated systems can help streamline the ordering process, reduce wait times, and alleviate the need for additional frontline staff.

For example, self-service kiosks can allow customers to browse the beer menu, place orders, and make payments without direct interaction with brewery staff. Similarly, mobile ordering apps enable patrons to order drinks from their smartphones, reducing the need for traditional table service.

By leveraging technology to supplement human labor, breweries can optimize staffing levels, improve customer service, and lower overall operational expenses. However, it's essential to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of these solutions based on the size and scale of your brewery operation. Larger breweries with higher production volumes may benefit more from investing in advanced automation systems, whereas smaller establishments may find simpler, cost-effective solutions equally effective.

4. Technology and POS Systems

POS System: Expect initial setup costs ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your implementation. Consider the features, level of service, and hardware your operation may need

Ex- hybrid service models, counter service, mobile ordering, etc.

5. Renovation 

Basic renovations, such as updating flooring, painting, and installing new fixtures, can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the brewery and the scope of the project.

More extensive renovations, such as structural changes, plumbing and electrical upgrades, and HVAC installation, can significantly increase costs and may range from $100,000 to several hundred thousand dollars or more.

If your space does not have a kitchen, again depending on the size of your operation, building out a kitchen can range from 100-300,000 dollars, including hood installation, walk-in coolers etc. The cost of this may make breweries opt for partnering with food trucks.

6. Inventory Management

Ingredients: $10,000 to $50,000 or more per year.

Packaging Materials: From $5,000 to $20,000 or more annually.

Cleaning Supplies: Around $1,000 to $5,000 per year.

7. Marketing and Branding

Website Development: $2,000 to $10,000 or more.

Advertising: Budget based on the scope and reach of campaigns.

Logo and Branding Design: Ranges from $500 to $5,000.

8. Licenses and Permits

Brewery License: $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

Federal Brewer’s Notice: Approximately $250.

State Alcohol License: Varies widely.

Local Permits: Costs depend on jurisdiction.

9. Utilities

Water, Electricity, Natural Gas: Variable costs based on usage.

Wastewater Disposal, Trash, Recycling: Additional considerations for waste management.

Internet, Communication, Security Systems: Ongoing operational needs.

10. Staff Training

Investment in Ongoing Training: Allocate a budget based on team size and depth of training required.

11. Insurance

Brewery Insurance: General liability, property, product liability, workers’ compensation, and liquor liability insurance. Costs vary based on factors like location and coverage options.

12. Miscellaneous

Glassware, Napkins, Cleaning Supplies: Regular supplies for customer service.

Decor and Ambiance: Enhance the brewery atmosphere.

POS Supplies, Maintenance, Transportation Costs: Operational necessities.

Launching a successful brewery involves a meticulous understanding of these costs.

Whether you're envisioning a small microbrewery or a larger operation, this guide equips you with the insights needed to navigate the intricate financial landscape. Plan diligently, account for contingencies, and raise your first glass to the exciting journey ahead. Cheers!

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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