How to start a brewery in WA

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Starting a brewery is not a simple endeavour. Image supplied.

For something a bit different, Startup News spoke to Craig Marty about how to start a brewery in Western Australia…

While Swan Brewery dominated the scene for much of the 20th century, craft breweries have been on the rise in more recent times. Think of Little Creatures, Feral and Gage Roads – to name just a few.

So, how does someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, passion for beer and experience with brewery go about starting a brewery?

Well, it can be overwhelming given the various needs and requirements – let alone the competition.

Write a business plan

Craig says the first step, one which is applicable to all businesses, is to develop a business plan. This should provide a detailed outline of all the essential elements you need in order to get the business going.

“Specifically, you must write down your vision for this business,” he said.

“This will give you a sense of direction on what you need to do to get there.”

Craig added it also must contain detailed plans for the marketing, business operations and finances of your brewery startup, which leads to the next step.

Funding

Due to the cost of the initial capital, starting a brewery is not cheap by any means.

“As a drinker of fine craft beer, this isn’t something you may first think about but once you get to the essentials of starting even a small-scale brewery, you’d soon realise that it’s not a cheap garage style undertaking,” noted Craig.

Premium quality ingredients are used brewing all types of beers. The equipment is not cheap either. Below is a list of just some of the equipment required:

  • Kettles
  • Kegs
  • Bottling and Canning Lines
  • Boilers
  • Storage Tanks
  • Cooling Systems
  • Filters
  • Piping and Tubing
  • Refrigeration System
  • Beer Labeling Machine
  • Tap Handles
  • Waste Treatment Systems

This list only covers equipment used in the actual brewing process. On top of this, packaging, a website, licenses and premises also need to be considered.

“Depending on the scale of your operations and the type of brewery you wish to open, you may look at getting financing to fund the early stages of your business, starting at $100,000 to $1 Million,” said Craig.

In addition to the equipment, you also have to look for the best location. Obviously, you want to start your brewery at a prime location to attract your target patrons. But establishing a brewery at a prime location also entails high rental costs – unless you own a piece of land and you want to use it for this business.

Craig Marty

Insurance is also critical. Brokers such Midland Insurance Brokers have a unique Brewery Insurance Program they can offer.

Image supplied.

Obtaining a licence

Craig noted that a brewery can maybe start, but can’t remain, as a garage business.

Many licences and regulatory requirements surround breweries. For example, you will need to be obtain an Australian Government Brewery Licence. This is a prerequisite for those that wish to manufacture beer for commercial purposes.

Other licences include a Liquor Licence, Brewery Distributor Agreement and a Wastewater Agreement.

Branding

“Building a brand for your brewery is a must because you are going to use it for marketing purposes,” explained Craig.

“It also helps to distinguish your brewery business from many others in WA and interstate also.”

To build a brand, you need a name and logo, which of course should feature prominently in the label of the beers and marketing collateral.

“Once you have picked out a name, be sure to trademark that along with the logo BEFORE starting production,” he added.

With all this in mind, you can now embark on the challenging, but rewarding, adventure of building a brewery business…

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Craig is connected to Midland Insurance Brokers

This article doesn’t equate to financial and legal advice.