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  • Writer's pictureSean

Building the Magic - How to Build a Brewery

Updated: Apr 6

As you may have read by now (if you haven't then you can read it here) we have been planning this brewery for years. This post and many others that will follow are destined to go through the process after our initial concept when we actually started the process.

Where To Start?

If you read enough about the best place to start when building a brewery you will always end up in the same place, location. This is because almost everything else directly depends on or is made significantly easier by having a location. From quotes and council approval, to revenue projections and getting investors!

We have been actively looking for a location since the latter months of 2021. The search was.....disappointing! You quickly realise that most of the listings online are either already gone or you call and get a very frustrating "Yeah that just leased this morning" from the real estate. Cue lots of swearwords from us and more than one mild existential crisis. Then we found a place!

The place was perfect, not yet leased (an important point, we came to realise by this time!), close to transport, good area with lots of people in our ideal demographic, lots of craft beer bottle shops or bars around but no brewery for a good few kms!

We put in for a lease, went back and forth negotiating for a little while, finally had something that both parties were happy with and BAM! I got a phone call to tell me that the landlord had gone with someone else.....cue reprisal of our existential crises and swearing.

So we went back on the hunt, Christmas came and went then my youngest daughter was born. I put up in our internal slack channel that I'm going to be off grid for a little while but if anything comes up to please let me know and if it gets the Green Light from the team I'll head down and take a look. Day 2 of Paternity Leave "Hey Sean....we've found something, how soon can you come look at it?"......"uuuummmmmmmm, ok, today?"

That place was our current venue we're looking to open in Manilla St. It was PERFECT for us in every way. We had a few site inspections including one that went for around 90 minutes to measure the space and draw up plans (thanks to Paul the very kind and patient real estate agent taking care of the property). We decided it was time to go for it and after month of searching finally managed to land ourselves a lease!

So we have a venue, now what do we do?

Next comes the very fun and not at all stressful part of the process where you figure out if you can actually do what you need to do in the space that you have. Of course much of this we figured out before we even leased the place but enquiring along those lines without actually having your name on the lease can only get you so far. A bit like researching all you can about a theme park, all the rides, food, entertainment, ideal routes to take through the rides to make the most of time. Then you get there and you have to actually pay to get in, but once you do, your plans can come to life and you find out so much more from being there. But I digress...

The next steps mostly involve compliance which is incredibly boring and important. We need to organise:

  • A DA or Development Application - This tells council what you are setting up and where and they tell you if its allowed or not in that location. Pretty essential.

  • Liquor license from the state government that allows you to make and sell alcohol at a state level.

  • A Federal Excise license from the ATO, which is basically a license to pay tax and promises the government that you'll always give them the right amount of money. Shockingly this one is probably the easiest as it literally is saying to the government "can I please pay you a percentage of every pint I sell for the privilege of being able to pour said pint?" "yes, please give us money for that" "Ok I'll give you money".

For this process we engaged some people that are far more familiar with the process than ourselves and they have been incredible so far and we're chugging along nicely.

We had a meeting with council recently called a "pre-lodgement meeting" which allows both sides to address any concerns they have about the property and application. It went about as well as it possibly could have with council saying that they were in support of the general idea for the building put forth in the application and that they see no significant issues from a planning perspective. We took that information back to the real estate and landlord who agreed its now worth proceeding with the formal lease.

Next steps now are to get all council requirements (noise and air quality surveys) sorted out and begin work on the building to make it both functional and absolutely drop dead gorgeous for everyone that walks in! This means get quotes for work from:

  • An electrician

  • A plumber

  • A gasfitter

  • A builder

  • Cold room company

  • Brewery equipment manufacturer

  • Boiler manufacturer

  • Barware and kitchen equipment suppliers

  • Probably many more!

In short, this means $$ so the most important task above all right now is finding money in every nook and cranny we can as well as seeking investment. We're open to investment already but will be running a crowdfunding campaign soon too!

To help with this effort and to put ourselves out there, at the same time as talking to investors we are (somewhat secretly, you've got to be quick to find them!) putting some kegs into bars to drum up some interest around the beers and the brand as well as have a tangible product to show people. The response has been excellent with interest from such places as Tipplers Tap and The Scratch among others. This is an incredibly exciting time for all of us and makes things feel very real, we can't wait now to share more with you and start building the venue!

I'll keep everyone up to date with the venue build, equipment and brewery considerations as well as my main job, making beer! We've got lots of beers in the pipeline to get out there into people's faces and hope to have something for everyone.

Keep a look out on our social media pages for keg announcements or launch parties as we're having a few coming up!


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