Brewery Business Plan Guide + Example

July 6, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

In this guide, we will navigate the process of creating a brewery business plan that reflects your  vision and entices potential stakeholders. Rather than viewing it as a chore that your lender may have tasked you with, embrace the opportunity to lay a solid foundation for your brewery's future growth.

Together, we will cover the essential components that make up a comprehensive brewery business plan, empowering you to showcase your brewery, analyze the market landscape, strategize marketing and sales efforts, and develop realistic financial projections. Your potential lenders will want to make sure your brewery plans are realistic and within industry averages as well!

This guide includes the following:

With that in mind as the path forward, let’s dive in. 

What Should be Included in a Brewery Business Plan?

A brewery business plan should compellingly convey to investors and lenders why beer enthusiasts and other customers would prefer your brewery over competitors, why you or your team are the optimum choice to manage the brewery, and how the financial projections are tailored to secure a favorable monetary return on their investment. Below is a detailed blueprint of our complimentary brewery business plan template.

Brewery Business Plan Outline

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Description

III. Market Analysis

IV. Marketing and Sales Strategy

V. Operations and Management

VI. Financial Plan

  • Startup Costs and Use of Funds
  • Annual Sales, Gross Profit and Net Profit
  • Key Financial Ratios
  • Financial Summary
  • Income Statement Annual Summary
  • Cash Flow Statement Annual Summary
  • Balance Sheet Annual Summary

VII. Appendix

VII. Conclusion

How to do Market Research for a Brewery Business Plan

Market research forms the backbone of any brewery business plan. Understanding your position within the market and establishing that there is adequate demand for your brewery's unique concept, location, and price range is key. Learn more about our approach to brewery market research here. Essentially, your goal is to grasp your competition, gauge potential customer footfall, identify an optimal location, and anticipate any seasonal fluctuations that could affect your business. You can learn more about our Brewery market research approach here, and below are some useful tools and methods for conducting market research for your prospective brewery.

What Will be the Cost to Advertise my Brewery?

We recommend Google Keyword Planner to aid you in identifying the ideal keywords to promote and attract customers to your brewery's website. This tool also offers an estimate of the cost per click when advertising using different keywords, as shown below:

What Keywords are Customers Using in Their Searches?

We rely on both Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to discern which keywords are directing traffic to your competitors' websites. You can run a report on a competitor's website to uncover the keywords they are ranking for and the volume of organic traffic each keyword generates. This information can be pivotal in streamlining your SEO strategy.

How Seasonal are Brewery?

We utilize Google Trends to examine the seasonality of your brewery concept. For instance, it can highlight that "Craft Beer Breweries" might not have stark seasonal patterns, whereas a brewery with a specialty in summer ales might exhibit pronounced seasonal trends.

How Many Customers Do my Competitors Receive Each Month?

Lastly, it's advantageous to generate foot traffic reports for your competitors to gauge the typical number of patrons they serve at their breweries. An example is shown below that presents the number of visits per month for a specific location:

In the end, the projected customer base for your brewery is a key assumption that will be foundational to your financial projections. Therefore, understanding your competitors' patron volumes can assist in estimating the potential traffic to your brewery.

How to Create Financial Projections for a Brewery Business Plan

Now, it's time to translate your market research into meaningful financial projections. Unlike other industries, the art of brewing introduces unique variables that shape revenue projections. While some breweries face capacity constraints, dictated by factors such as available seating, others may be limited by their brewing capacity and the ability to efficiently fulfill orders. Creating accurate financial projections is crucial not only to showcase your brewery's potential to repay loans but also to demonstrate an attractive return on investment to potential stakeholders.

  1. Estimate startup costs for your restaurant
  2. Forecast revenue including distribution, tap rooms, brewpub
  3. Project food, beer, and labor costs
  4. Estimate your operating expenses like rent and utilities
  5. Calculate how much investor or loan capital you will need to open

If you use our brewery projection template, you'll be guided through this process, ensuring your projections adhere to the format required by investors or lenders. Typically, startup brewery projections should include an integrated income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow forecast to provide a comprehensive financial overview.

Through thoughtful financial planning and accurate projections, you'll not only showcase the potential profitability of your brewery but also gain the confidence of potential investors and lenders. Let our brewery projection templates assist you in presenting a robust financial plan that sets the stage for a successful brewing enterprise.

Example Brewery Business Plan

Discover our brewery business plan template, available in a customizable Google Doc format, allowing you to tailor it to your specific needs. Accompanied by our video walkthrough, you'll receive guidance on adapting the plan to your unique brewery concept. 

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Description

III. Market Analysis

IV. Marketing and Sales Strategy

V. Operations and Management

VI. Financial Plan

  • Startup Costs and Use of Funds
  • Annual Sales, Gross Profit and Net Profit
  • Key Financial Ratios
  • Financial Summary
  • Income Statement Annual Summary
  • Cash Flow Statement Annual Summary
  • Balance Sheet Annual Summary

VII. Appendix

VII. Conclusion

1. Executive Summary

 1.1. Company Overview

Briefly introduce the company's background, products or services, and target market.

      -  Example: Barrel & Brew Co. is a boutique craft brewery located in Asheville, North Carolina. We are dedicated to producing exceptional handcrafted beers that showcase the artistry of brewing and embody the spirit of the local community. 

   1.2. Objectives

Outlines the company's short-term and long-term goals.

        - Example:  Establish Barrel & Brew Co. as a premier destination for craft beer enthusiasts in Asheville, achieving a 70% taproom occupancy rate within the first year.

        - Example: Long-term: Plan to expand our operations, opening additional taprooms in neighboring cities and maintaining strong customer satisfaction..

  1.3. Mission Statement

 Describes the company's purpose and core values.

        - Example: At Barrel & Brew Co., our mission is to create exceptional craft beers that captivate the senses and foster a sense of community. We are dedicated to promoting the art of brewing, supporting local farmers and artisans, and providing an inviting and educational space where beer enthusiasts can gather, share experiences, and appreciate the craftsmanship behind our beers.

 1.4. Keys to Success

Highlights the factors that will contribute to the company's growth and success.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. thrives on the following key factors for success. We prioritize exceptional craftsmanship, ensuring our craft beers deliver unmatched quality and flavor. Our engaging taproom experience immerses beer enthusiasts through guided tours, tastings, and educational activities. Active community engagement through festivals, collaborations, and charitable support builds a loyal customer base. 

2. Company Description

   2.1. Company History

Provides context on the company's background and founding story.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. was founded by Martin Holts, a passionate brewer with extensive experience in the craft beer industry. Inspired by his love for brewing and the vibrant beer culture in Asheville, North Carolina, Martin set out to create a brewery that would celebrate the artistry and flavors of handcrafted beers. 

   2.2. Legal Structure

 Describes the company's legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation).

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. operates as a limited liability company (LLC)

 2.3. Unique Selling Proposition

 Emphasizes the company's competitive advantage or unique offerings.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. distinguishes itself through its commitment to brewing excellence and innovation. We pride ourselves on crafting high-quality beers that showcase a harmonious blend of traditional brewing techniques and inventive flavors.

  2.4. Target Market

Defines the company's ideal customer base.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. targets beer enthusiasts and craft beer connoisseurs in Asheville, North Carolina, and beyond. Our offerings appeal to individuals who appreciate the artistry, quality, and diverse range of flavors found in handcrafted beers. 

3. Market Analysis

3.1. Industry Overview

 Presents a general overview of the industry, its trends, and growth potential.

        - Example: The craft beer industry in Asheville, North Carolina, is thriving, driven by the city's vibrant beer culture, tourism, and a strong community of beer enthusiasts. With a growing demand for high-quality and diverse craft beers, the industry presents significant growth potential for Barrel & Brew Co.

3.2. Competitor Analysis

 Evaluates the company's direct and indirect competitors, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

        - Example: Direct competitors: Mountain Brew –  a local brewery located in Asheville, North Carolina, specializing in craft beers that celebrate the mountainous region.

        - Example: Indirect competitors: The Hop House – a popular brewpub and restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. While they brew their own beers on-site, they also offer a wide selection of craft beers from other local and regional breweries. 

3.3. Target Market Analysis

Explores the company's target customers, demographics, preferences, and pain points.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co.'s target market includes beer enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, and locals and tourists who appreciate the unique beer scene in Asheville. The target demographic comprises individuals aged 21 and above who seek flavorful, high-quality beers and enjoy exploring different beer styles and flavors.

3.4. Market Opportunities

Identifies potential opportunities for the company to grow within the market.

        - Example: There are several opportunities for Barrel & Brew Co. to thrive in the market. Firstly, by actively participating in local beer festivals, events, and collaborations with other breweries, Barrel & Brew Co. can increase brand visibility and attract new customers. Additionally, partnering with local restaurants and bars to showcase their beers can expand their reach and tap into new customer segments. 

Key Point  1

  • Example 1: Conduct a competitor analysis to understand the strengths and weaknesses of existing breweries in the area. (e.g., Identify key competitors' offerings, pricing, and customer reviews to determine potential gaps in the market)
  • Example 2:Analyze local beer consumption trends and preferences through surveys and market research. (e.g., Discover that there is a high demand for craft beers with unique flavors and local ingredients in Asheville)

4. Marketing and Sales Strategy

4.1. Product or Service Offerings: 

Describes the company's products or services in detail.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. offers a diverse range of handcrafted beers. Our lineup includes a variety of beer styles, from refreshing lagers to hop-forward IPAs and rich stouts. Each beer is meticulously brewed using high-quality ingredients and crafted to deliver exceptional flavor and aroma.

4.2. Pricing Strategy

 Outlines the company's approach to pricing its products or services.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. employs a competitive pricing strategy that reflects the quality and craftsmanship of our beers while remaining accessible to our target market. 

4.3. Sales Strategy

 Explains how the company plans to generate sales and build

customer relationships.

        - Example:  To generate sales and build strong customer relationships, Barrel & Brew Co. focuses on creating memorable experiences for beer enthusiasts. Our taproom in Asheville, North Carolina, serves as a hub for beer tasting, socializing, and educational events. We prioritize customer engagement by offering guided brewery tours, hosting beer tasting sessions, and providing a welcoming and knowledgeable staff to enhance the overall brewery experience.

4.4. Distribution Channels

 Describes the methods through which the company will deliver its products or services to customers.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. primarily distributes its beers through its taproom in Asheville. Customers can visit the taproom to enjoy our beers on-site, purchase cans or growlers to-go, and engage directly with our team. 

4.5. Promotions and Advertising

 Details the company's promotional efforts and advertising strategies.

        - Example: To increase brand awareness and attract customers, Barrel & Brew Co. employs a multifaceted approach to promotions and advertising. We leverage social media platforms to showcase our beers, engage with our audience, and promote upcoming events. We also collaborate with local food vendors, musicians, and artists to host unique experiences and create cross-promotional opportunities. 

Key Point  2

  • Example 1:  Organize a beer tasting event showcasing the brewery's signature brews to attract beer enthusiasts and build brand awareness. (e.g., Attract 300 attendees to the event, generating positive feedback and inquiries about future offerings). Attend local festivals, events, etc to offer beer tastings and sale discounted beers
  • Example 2: Collaborate with local restaurants and bars to feature Barrel & Brew Co.'s beers on their menus, expanding the brewery's reach and attracting new customers. (e.g., Secure partnerships with three popular restaurants, resulting in increased sales and customer referrals)
  • Example 3: pre-sale “beer of the month” or mugs for a “mug club” to provide a discount for the first year (or lifetime) based on a pre-launch subscription fee
  • Example 4: Social Media & Email signups. Build a local (and broader) following by documenting/sharing the process of brewing, building, launching the brewery. Collect emails to provide updates to local supporters

5. Operations and Management

5.1. Brewery Production

Involves the brewing process, quality control, and packaging of the beers.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. focuses on producing high-quality beers by adhering to strict brewing standards, conducting regular quality checks, and implementing efficient packaging and labeling processes.

5.2. Inventory Management

Refers to the management of raw materials, brewing supplies, and finished beer inventory.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. maintains a comprehensive inventory management system to monitor stock levels, track ingredient usage, and ensure sufficient supply of brewing materials. This enables us to meet customer demand and optimize production efficiency.

5.3. Taproom Operations

Encompasses the management of the taproom, including customer service, beer pouring, and creating a welcoming atmosphere.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. places a strong emphasis on exceptional customer service and creating a warm and inviting environment in our taproom. Our well-trained staff provides knowledgeable guidance on beer selection, offers a memorable tasting experience, and fosters a sense of community among our patrons.

5.4. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Involves adhering to local, state, and federal regulations related to brewing, licensing, health and safety, and responsible alcohol service.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. ensures compliance with all applicable laws and regulations governing the brewing industry. We maintain proper licensing, prioritize health and safety protocols, and promote responsible alcohol service to uphold the highest standards of legal and ethical practices.

Key Point  3

  • Example: Martin Holts, the owner of Barrel & Brew Co., has a decade of experience in craft beer brewing, including managing a successful brewery in a different location. His expertise ensures a deep understanding of brewing techniques, quality control, and industry trends.
  • Example: The brewery's head brewer, Sarah Thompson, is a renowned expert in the craft beer industry, having won multiple awards for her innovative beer creations. Her expertise brings credibility and a competitive edge to Barrel & Brew Co.

5.5 Staffing and Human Resources

Covers the recruitment, training, and management of a skilled and dedicated team.

        -Example: Barrel & Brew Co. places great importance on hiring passionate and knowledgeable individuals who share our commitment to brewing excellence. We provide comprehensive training programs, offer competitive compensation, and foster a positive work environment to attract and retain top talent in the industry.

5.6. Financial Management

Involves budgeting, accounting, and financial analysis to ensure the brewery's financial stability and profitability.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. maintains a robust financial management system, which includes accurate bookkeeping, regular financial analysis, and strategic budgeting. This allows us to make informed business decisions, manage expenses effectively, and pursue growth opportunities while maintaining financial sustainability.

All of the unique Brewery financial projections you see here were generated using ProjectionHub’s Brewery Financial Projection Template. Use PH20BP to enjoy a 20% discount on the template. 

6. Financial Plan

   6.1. Startup Costs

 Provide a detailed breakdown of the total startup costs requirements, and where you plan for those funds to come from. You will also want to breakdown how the startup costs will be used including working capital to cover losses before the business breaks even.

        - Example: Creating a solid financial plan is crucial, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the success of Barrel & Brew Co. We have raised $150,000 through personal investment from Matin, and we are working with financial institutions to secure a business loan of around $500,000. By combining these funding sources, we are confident in our ability to meet the startup cost requirements and establish a strong foundation for Barrel & Brew Co. 

6.2. Revenue Projections

Provides an estimate of the company's future revenue based on market research and assumptions.

        - Example:  Barrel & Brew Co. projects $1,367,824 in revenue in the first year. The company anticipates steady growth in revenue over the initial five-year period.

6.3. Expense Projections

 Estimates the company's future expenses, including fixed and variable costs.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co.'s expenses include property lease, accounting, advertising, professional services, utilities, and more.

6.4. Profit and Loss Statement

Summarizes the company's revenue, expenses, and net income over a specific period.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. expects to achieve profitability within the first two years of operation.

6.5. Cash Flow Projections

 Outlines the company's projected cash inflows and outflows.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. cash flow projections account for seasonal fluctuations in sales and expenses.

6.6. Break-even Analysis

 Determines the point at which the company's revenue equals its expenses.

        - Example: Barrel & Brew Co. anticipates reaching its break-even point in year 2 of operation.

Watch how to create financial projections for your Brewery

Key Point  4 

  • Example 1: Compare financial projections with industry benchmarks for breweries of a similar size and production capacity. (e.g., Aim for a gross margin of 50%, which is within the typical range for craft breweries)
  • Example 2:  Consider potential market growth and expansion opportunities in Asheville, factoring in expected revenue increases from increased distribution and taproom sales.

7. Appendix

   7.1. Supporting Documents

 Includes any relevant documentation that supports the information presented in the business plan, such as resumes, financial projections, market research data, and permits or licenses.

   7.2. Glossary of Term

 Provides definitions for industry-specific terms used throughout the business plan to ensure reader comprehension.

   7.3. References and Resources

Lists any sources or resources referenced during the preparation of the business plan, including industry reports, market research data, and relevant publications.

Key Point  5

  • Example: Martin Holts and his family invest a substantial amount of personal funds into the brewery's startup costs, demonstrating their commitment to the business's success.
  • Example: The brewery secures a small business loan backed by the collateral of brewing equipment, showing the willingness to assume financial risk and ensuring the lender's confidence in the venture.

Brewery Business Plan FAQs

How can I choose the ideal location for my brewery?

When selecting a location for your brewery, consider factors such as the availability of water supply, access to quality ingredients, proximity to your target market, zoning regulations for breweries, space for brewing equipment and storage, and the potential for a taproom or retail area.

What are the steps to start a craft brewery?

Starting a craft brewery typically involves conducting market research, writing a business plan, securing funding, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, sourcing equipment and ingredients, hiring staff, and marketing your brewery.

How can I finance my brewery startup?

There are various options to finance a brewery startup, including self-funding, bank loans, crowdfunding, seeking investment from private investors or venture capitalists, or applying for government grants or incentives.

What permits and regulations do I need to comply with to operate a brewery?

The permits and regulations for operating a brewery can vary depending on your location. Typically, you will need permits related to alcohol production and distribution, licensing for on-site consumption or retail sales, compliance with health and safety regulations, and adherence to labeling and packaging requirements.

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

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