Business Advice for the New (and not so new) Craft Brewer

neon sign now brewingBegin with the End in Mind

Your plans for any kind of administration should be based upon where you want to take the company. If you are going to be a “tasting room” only, that means that you will have to keep your overhead lean and mean. If you are planning for AB-Inbev to take you over in five years, then you had better plan to be an attractive target. 

Never Lose Control to Someone Else

Believe it or not, there are a lot of brewers who would rather not even think about accounting. It is hard to grasp and even harder to master. It is tempting to give the control over to someone else who sounds like they know what they are doing. That is a mistake, because knowledge equals power and you are the only one with the true power. Even if that eager person is nice enough, they don’t have your ability to create change. It’s like posting someone on the lookout for icebergs, but not telling them how to steer the ship.

You Will Have to Grow up Eventually

It is unbelievably fun to own and run a brewery. But like any brewery, you will need to run it like a business. That means creating systems that can be monitored and controlled. 

The Physical World Must Match the Virtual World

The only way to concretely measure your progress is by using accounting methodology. Your systems must stay in sync or your data is worthless.

Live Within Your Means

The complexity of the brewery will only grow with time and everyone’s jobs will get tougher and tougher. It will be tempting to add to overhead, but make sure the business can handle the extra drag on gross margin.

Always See the Forest Through the Trees

Don’t let the small print on financial statements lose you. Demand financials that you can understand and metrics that truly measure the operations of the business.

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