14 Dec 2009

The Complete Guide to Opening a Nanobrewery.


Here is a little list of things you need to accomplish if you feel like you wanna open up a nanobrewery of your own. I guess it is relevant for a full scale brewery too. I actually made this list for JC of Trillium Brewing, who will probably be going down the smaller scale road like us.
 Brewery Licenses/Permits/Etc:

Local /County Government:

Planing Department: this is where you gotta go to make sure you can actually open up a brewery at your desired location. If not you’ll have to appeal to the government and get Conditional Use Permit.

Department of Environmental Health: If you are going to have a tasting room you’ll have to deal with your local DEH. Make sure you get someone that knows what they are talking about.

State Board of Equalization: You need to have a seller’s permit which is a local/county run deal.

Business License: A license to actually do business in your city.

Building Permit: If you are doing any serious construction this will be needed. Sometimes even for smaller jobs too.

State Government: 

Department of Health: if you are opening up a wholesale food processing facility, which is the category a microbrewery falls into, they will need to approve you facility.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board: This is the basic license application. We have a type-23 microbrewery license. We have all the same rights as a type-01 license holder except the fee is considerably less.

Paperwork you’ll have to file: Personal Affidavit, Additional Affidavits, Personnel Questionnaire, Corporate Questionnaire (if you are an LLC/ Corp), Diagram of Brewing Facility, Zoning Paperwork, Consideration Point (i.e. schools, churches, etc.), Residence (i.e. if you are close to non-commercial buildings), Signature Sheet (for LLC/Corp), and Tied-House Restriction Paperwork. All in all about 22 pages of paperwork.

Excise Tax Division of BOE: An excise tax permit is required as well. They require a bond as collateral.

LLC or Corporate Articles of Incorporation: Done through a lawyer and usually a yearly fee associated with this as well ($800-1000 per year)

Federal Government:

IRS Employee ID Number: This is just to keep track of your business taxes. Easy to obtain, just a few pages of paperwork. I think it can be done through their website.

Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: They require a collateral bond for taxes and you need to pay taxes on every barrel of beer you produce and sell. Minimum of $1,000 bond is needed as collateral.

Paperwork you’ll have to file: Brewer’s Notice, Brewer’s Bond, Personnel Questionnaire, Power of Attorney (for LLC/Corp.), Pay.Gov User Agreement, Environmental Information, Quarterly Excise Tax Payment Procedures Checklist, Supplimental Water Quality Information, Signing Authority (for LLC/Corp.), Legal Description of the Brewery, Description of Security, and a Diagram of the Facility.

 I hope this is insightful for anyone looking to get in the brewing game.

10 Responses to The Complete Guide to Opening a Nanobrewery.
  1. Great list, thanks for putting this together. Thinking about taking the plunge and sites like yours sure do make some of the legwork easier.

  2. Thanks for providing this.

    Where did you open up your brewery, in Communist Soviet Union after taking a ride in a time machine?

  3. Thanks so much for this! This answered a ton of questions for me and I’ll start putting some numbers together shortly! When I’m in SD I’ll look you up.

  4. about how much would all of this cost?

  5. Great list! I’m sure this can be amended for other craft beer based businesses as well.

  6. Thanks for the great list.

    Anyone have an idea of how this translates for other states like Pennsylvania?

    Obviously the federal stuff still applies, but how many parallels exist between state and local regulations?

  7. @SportingDude, the CCCP circe 1973 is awesome. Come visit.

    @IrishSklyer It depends… More than $1,000 but less than $10,000.

    @Aaron, No idea for other states.. I tried to make this as broad as possible to help everyone at least look at all angles. Some of these things are not a necessity and some are, it just depends where you live. I know I wish this list existed when I was opening Hess. Cheers!

  8. Me and two friends would like to open a nanobrewery with a newly created LLC but one of the guys has a DUI, will that create problems when we try to get the license?

  9. In California can you open a Nanobrewery on a residential property? I know it can be done in Oregon.

    There’s a beautiful 600 sq foot hard constructed and permitted workshop with plumbing and gas in my backyard that is up to no good.

  10. Haha amazing pictorials. I’m trying to open a nanobrewery in a restaurant in texas and im beginning to think I should just move to another state. What a joke!


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