So my first run of numbers made it look like I could be a wholesale facility and get away with it. My plan was to hide from the general public and turn into a scientist, making the best damn beer I could. I’d be alone with my ideas and I’d be able to crank it out and focus. I’d be a beer-making hermit. As one does, I left a few things out, and it turns out that everyone who says nanobreweries are difficult to turn a profit on are correct.
However, the guys that say they are impossible are dead wrong! Or, at least I think they are. I’ve stared at and tweaked and massaged the numbers into worst case scenarios, and it doesn’t seem impossible at all. It might be impossible if you plan on working 35 hours a week and being disorganized, but I like working, and I like building efficient systems. I’m counting on my work ethic and previous experience being the guy who pushes the beer to guide me through the process of profiting with it.
In light of financial analysis, and the fact that I’m beginning to miss the social interaction of standing behind a bar and helping people have a good time, it is impossible for me to not consider having a tasting room. I clearly do not have enough space to run a proper nightlife establishment from, but I can squeeze a crowd of 15-20 in and sell them all a few beers. If there is one thing I learned from the last 10 years of working in bars, it is that product counts for, at most, 50% of your draw. Hospitality and vibe are everything else. And most of that might be comprised of lighting and music.
Since the space has the brightest motherfriggin’ fluorescent lights you’ve ever seen, I fixed up a couple vintage industrial lights in the “tasting room” area. If the brewery was gonna be clinically lighted, I could at least provide refuge and try to separate them with furnishings. A trip to Earthwise brought a little inspiration in the form of an old schoolhouse sign with press in letters and grooved felt and planks of milled fir. The sign was hideous. Earthwise clearly wanted it gone, but I felt (no pun intended) that it had potential. It was suffering from a reddish stain on it’s mahogany frame, and it was capped by totally corroded brass (I like mahogany and brass) enveloping three felt boards, two black and one emerald green. It seemed like it just needed a solid sanding and stain and it would totally fit the vibe I’m going for. And it did! Somehow, I missed the before shot, but just use your imagination:
The plank is visible in the background. It was pretty rough reclaimed wood that really needed to be run through a thickness planer before sanding, but I just don’t have that kind of time, so 4 hours of sanding did the trick. 60 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit, 320 grit, so much sanding … a few coats of walnut stain and polyurethane, and voila!
The Earthwise gal gave me a massive amount of letters in about 4 different sizes, so I won’t be running out any time soon. I’ll be hanging the sign at some point – it’s just sitting on the bar top. Oh yeah, I found a bunch of stools on Craigslist today for $20 a pop. It’s damn near inviting! Time to start cleaning up the sawdust and do my sawing outside!