Archive for April, 2011

Off Topic: Brewing

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

So I’ve been doing some thinking recently about a career switch – I’ve always thought about it in an eventual sense, this time I seem to be taking myself a bit more seriously.  It all started with my homebrewing kit, and the reviews of my beer I’ve gotten.  I’ve been tossing around ideas in my head for opening up a brewpub, or maybe a packaging brewery though I’m leaning toward the former.  I’m nowhere near any point where I need to look for capital, or even look for sites, but the more I think about it the more I think I could make it happen.

So at the risk of letting the cat out of the bag too soon, here are the ideas I’ve had so far – with suitable thanks to all the people I’ve bounced the off of for refinement and (when necessary) scrapping.

Idea 1: themed beers.  It started with a book I read…  then I divided the beer world arbitrarily into four categories – ale, lager, barleywine, and mead.  These categories correspond with my division of the ancient mythological world into four “western” pantheons – Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Norse, respectively.  Each variety of ale would be named after a Greek mythological figure, lagers would be Egyptians, and so on.  The name of the beer type?  Mythobeer.  Or maybe Mythbeer.  Mithbeer?  All those spellings look a bit…  wonky.  That’s one area I’m still actively thinking about – well moreso than other “settled” areas, that is.

But a brewpub doesn’t just make beer, it also makes food.  And serves food.  So we start with the basics – lunch and dinner.  That’s much is a definite, this next bit is still under evaluation.  I could split the building into a “brewpub” and a “restaurant” area – much like Tyler’s Taproom (in Durham, NC) is split into a pub and a speakeasy.  The brewpub would have simple fare – burgers, dogs, sandwiches, along the same lines of Tyler’s or Ham’s (before it went out of business) or Carolina Brewery (yes, I’m using examples local to the RTP area of North Carolina because that’s the area I know).  The restaurant side would have a more upscale selection of fare, similar to Top of the Hill in Chapel Hill, maybe even something closer to a Ruth’s Chris or a Sullivan’s, but not a steakhouse.  Then I was told I should consider (very seriously) doing breakfast, as that is the cheapest meal to serve on a per-plate basis; so combine that with another idea of doing a coffee house, I turn the brewpub into a coffee house and the restaurant into a breakfast restaurant before 10:30 am – blend from breakfast to lunch between 10 and 11, and depending on interest level perhaps have “breakfast” available until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, if not all day.

The problem with all of this?  At least, the first major problem, anyway?  Capital – I don’t have any.  So, as I put more thought into this, and as I start planning things out, I need to also be thinking very hard about where to get capital from – traditional bank loans? SBA loans? Venture Capitalists?  All things I need to ponder…