Ten Steps To Start A Successful Craft Brewery

If you want to learn how to start your own brewery and successful craft brewing business you’ve come to the right place. Over the past 10 years Portland Kettle Works has helped launch over 360 craft breweries all around the world and over 97% of them are still in business producing great craft beers. It’s not an accident.

Without good planning and preparation, breweries, like all new or small businesses, have a high rate of failure. To start a brewery and navigate the pitfalls of bringing your dream to reality, we recommend creating and executing a long-term plan by completing the following 10 step process. These steps will take you from concept to grand opening. More importantly, successfully completing these steps will help ensure that your brewery business is prosperous, resilient, and enduring.

Portland KettleWorks was founded by experienced craft brewers who know what it takes to make a great brewery and a successful business. Our 10 step process produces excellent results, 97% success and 88% growth rates at or above planning.  

STEP 1: Concept

How to Start a Brewery, Step 1: Concept

It’s been your dream for years. You’ve thought about it and now it’s time to take action and open your own Brewery and share your unique brewing skills with the world. Think carefully and decide what you’ll offer customers & how it will differ from other breweries in your area.

STEP 2: Learn To Brew It Right

How to Start a Brewery, Step 2: Brewer's School

If you’re working with Portland Kettle Works, we offer intensive training in the business of craft brewing combined with hands on small class training at EntreBREWneur Academy in our unique LaBREWatory – an actual live taproom open to the public. There, under the watchful eye of our master brewers you’ll learn everything you need to know about the art of brewing by actually doing it. Grain handling, mash in, boiling, mixing, fermenting, finishing – we cover it all. And, if you’d like to learn more before you actually buy your brewing equipment, you can attend one of our EntreBREWneur Acadamy training classes and, when you buy your equipment, all tuition will be credited toward your order.

Step 3: Business Plan

How to Start a Brewery, Step 3, Business Plan

There is an old adage that, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Nowhere is this more true than in starting your own craft brewery. When you sign up with Portland Kettle Works our experienced team will work with you to plan exactly what you need. Whether you’re an experimental one barrel nanobrewery, a one tank local microbrewery or a 10 tank aspiring regional power brewer we’ll help you nail down your exact hardware and financing requirements.

Step 4: Financing

How to Start a Brewery, Step 4, Financing

As much as we all love great craft beer you can never lose sight of the fact that this is a business. More craft breweries fail for financial reasons than for any other cause. We’ve done craft breweries of all sizes and shapes. We can help you analyze your financing requirements and arrange realistic financing for your brewing equipment.

Step 5: Location, Location, Location

How to Start a Brewery, Step 5: Location

With your financing secured it’s time to pick that special location for your brewhouse with the right combination of usable space, affordable rent and, all important, easy public access to ensure plenty of traffic from thirsty craft brew lovers.

Steps 6: Layout

How to Start a Brewery, Step 6: Layout

With your location selected we will work with you to layout your brewing system for maximum efficiency. We’ll help you with architectural & engineering drawings of your brewery’s internal space so all your equipment will fit. And in the meantime, Portland Kettle Works will be manufacturing your equipment to order and getting it ready for installation at your location.

Step 7: Construction

How to Start a Brewery, Step 7: construction

Time to select a contractor to build or renovate your selected building to the specifications in your layout. It won’t be pretty but at the end of the process you’ll have a site prepped to receive your new equipment and get ready to brew.

Step 8: Installation

How to Start a Brewery, Step 8: Install

So, the trucks have arrived and unloaded your beautiful new brewery equipment. Now what? If you’re working with Portland Kettle Works you’ll soon be ready to brew. Our expert technicians will help you install and set up your equipment and, since you’ve attended our intensive, hands on small class training at EntreBREWneur Academy in our unique LaBREWatory, you’ll be good to go as soon as the equipment is ready!

Step 9: Commission

How to Start a Brewery, Step 9: Commission

Now the fun starts. Set up the tables and chairs, put in the bar, check out all your new PKW equipment to make sure it’s working correctly and start brewing your unique craft beers!

Step 10: Grand Opening!!

How to Start a Brewery, Step 10: Grand Opening

This is it! You planning and persistence are about to pay off. You can announce your new craft brewery to the world (or at least your local area)! And if you’re not quite sure about how to do the launch, never fear. Portland Kettle Works has a free marketing plan for our clients that will help you promote your craft brewer to levels that will amaze you.

Steps 11 – ???: Plan for Success

Portland Kettle Works - Your Partner in Success

What? More steps? You bet because here at Portland Kettle Works we’re your partner as you grow. We’re in it with you for the long haul. No need to buy more equipment than you need to get started. You can start small and trade up with us when you’re ready to expand.

If you’re serious about your craft brewing venture Portland Kettle Works is here to help you succeed every step of the way. Stick with us and before you know it we’ll be having one of our famous plaque ceremonies and adding your brewery’s distinctive logo to our famous craft brewer “Wall of Fame”:

Portland Kettle Works Craft Brewer Wall of Fame
Portland Kettle Works Craft Brewer Wall of Fame

Want to Learn More? The Portland Kettle Works knowledge base presents an on-going informational series from successful craft brewers designed to help you learn.

Let Portland Kettle Works help you start your own brewery.

Get a QuoteAsk a Question