World’s Smallest Commercial Brewery
World’s smallest commercial brewery… probably and exaggeration, but not by much. Two ½ bbl systems are all we have to keep a beer in your hand. This means we produce one keg at a time, literally. Of course, we added some smart solutions that speed up the process, such as a big instant hot water heater that allows us to mash in without having to wait for the water to heat and larger kettles that allow us to net out a full keg. However, you can only speed the brewing process up so much. This is why we are open on weekends only for now.
“What kind of idiot would open a brewery in a high traffic area with a tiny system?” you might ask. To which I proudly reply “this idiot.” You see, we knew we wouldn’t be able to keep up with this system. This very same system is the one Our Brewing Co. opened with 5 years ago when they constantly were running out of beer. It was through that process that I became good friends with the folks down there and became their weekend shift brewer that helped keep beer on tap in the first 6 months at Our. It was through that experience that I learned what an unsustainable hustle it would be to start with a system this size. Unfortunately, or possibly, fortunately, depending on how this plays out, it is what we had to do.
When we began planning this brewery we had intentions of starting on a 3 bbl system with 8 fermenters, 2 brite tanks, and a glycol system. Early in the project, we ran into some financial snags. Looking back it all worked out great because those snags are what allowed us to keep 100% ownership and control of the brewery. Unfortunately what it meant was that we would have to put all the money we could scrape together into the build out to pass code and get the doors open. A second mortgage, cashed out retirement accounts, money from our parents. We are so far extended at this point; it’s just not possible to get a bigger system yet. I cobbled together a plan that would allow us to make enough beer to be open on the weekends to get the revenue flowing. Sure, this plan requires keeping our day jobs and basically brewing non-stop 7 days a week until we can get our next system. But we already established “this idiot” likes to bite off more than he can chew.Speaking of, did I mention we are also expecting our first child in December? All of this brewing is just good sleep deprivation training for when the baby comes.
One of our core beliefs is that in this ever more saturated brewery market the way for a small brewery to succeed is to start slow, build a loyal crowd, and not overextend too fast. The tough part of that is finding the loyal crowd that is willing to be patient and wait for you to grow into something cool. Judging by our first openings and offerings, we have found that crowd. If you are still reading this, you must be one of the cool kids. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your support. With your continued patience we promise to continue to pour more time, effort, and funds than we ever thought possible into making this your brewery. Cheers!