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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Hard Road From Concept to Bottle

Andrew Theen, writing in the Oregonian, has an illuminating piece on the difficulties starting a new brewery.  He looked into the project Alan Taylor--the talented, German-trained former Widmer brewer--and partners have been working on for well over a year now.  They have the talent, the business plan, and the support of the city of Hillsboro.  What they need is a building:
Taylor, experienced in both small and large-scale operations, has a clear idea of what they want. They plan on producing 6,000 to 10,000 barrels per year, along with bottling and distribution, paired with a 190-seat restaurant -- think along the lines of Hopworks Urban Brewery or Laurelwood Brewing Co. in Portland.

"It's hard to find a restaurant, industrial mix in the 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot range," Taylor said. 
Definitely worth a read. Relatedly, Pete Dunlop has noticed the trend of more production brewing, rather than brewpubs, in the Beaver State and has thoughts about what it means.

3 comments:

Rich Isaacs said...

Very cool articles, thanks for sharing.

The only thing I didn't quite get from the first article is why they are having trouble finding a building. Is it that they can't afford what they want or that they can't find what they want?

Alan Taylor said...

Hi Rich:

Thanks for the question. The problem with finding the right building comes down to location (of paramount importance), size of the building (big enough for production of beers both in house and to our distributors as well as for the restaurant), amenities (able to accept/ship deliveries, the size of the incoming water supply, parking, proximity to public transportation, etc.), and the costs of the buildout. The buildout encompasses new brewery floors, electrical and plumbing upgrades, seismic upgrades, kitchen space, dining/retail space, city charges for system developments and traffic impact, etc. The list goes on and on. Then comes the question: Who is going to pay for it and how? The landlord? The tenant? We have a great team of brokers helping us with our search and have found several spaces we either have or are still looking at with the landlords. Throw the fact that, despite our experience running breweries, we are technically still a start up. So to answer your question: We will be able to afford what we want when we find it.

Rich Isaacs said...

Hah, awesome, thanks for the response! I figured it was a mix of things, but it wasn't clear from the article. I live all the way over here in Philly so it was just curiousity in the end anyway. Good luck though!

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