Point of Sale
The core of our all-in-one restaurant management system
From food trucks to FSRs, get the POS built for restaurants.
By Debra Weinryb
The craft brewery industry is experiencing explosive growth, with sales accounting for 24% of the U.S. beer market which is worth over $114 billion. To truly achieve success as a brewery owner or manager in this competitive landscape, you’ll need a brewery business plan.
Whether you are considering opening a large industrial brewery in a downtown core, or a small neighborhood pub with a beautiful outdoor patio, every brewery starts with a great business plan. Your business plan acts as a roadmap that helps you think about tools and technology to grow your business, like a brewery POS system for example. And with the right structures in place from the beginning, you’ll have a greater chance of being successful, and mitigating financial and legal risks.
If you’ve never written a business plan for a brewery before, it can feel overwhelming to get started. To make it easier, we’ve put together a complete guide to writing a brewery business plan. In this guide, we’ll cover:
Create a professional business plan for a brewery with this customizable template.
Below, we’ll cover the eight essential sections that go into a great brewery business plan.
Your Executive Summary is arguably the most important section of your brewery business plan. While it’s the first section, it’s often written last because it summarizes all of the following sections. Here, you’ll explain the type of brewery you will be operating – whether that’s a craft brewery, brewpub, or another model.
It’s important to nail down your business model early on because your specific type of brewery will change the direction of your plan. For example, microbrewery business plans describe businesses that produce less than 15,000 barrels a year. Microbrewery business plans therefore focus on selling specialty drinks, instead of large quantities of beer that a craft brewery could offer.
In this section, you’ll also provide a high-level overview of your type of brewery, customers, competitors, sales, and marketing strategies. You can also write about your leadership team, their experience, and provide financial information.
Remember to write concisely and not longer than a page in length. This section should be inspiring and tell investors why they should choose you over your competition. To stand out, highlight what makes your brewery special. Here are a few examples:
The Business Overview section provides a brief snapshot of your business. You’ll want to include details that investors might want to know before they invest in your brewery, like the legal and trade name of your business, your service structure, your business address, and the date you founded your brewery.
You can also provide links where a potential investor can find more information, like your brewery website and social media pages – in addition to your contact information like email, phone number, and mailing address. Optionally, you may include banking details, including your branch and banker.
Your Business Description section goes into more detail about your brewery, such as what your service will look like, where you will be located, your menu variety, and the vibe you will be creating. Overall, this section should highlight your overall brewery concept, vision, and goals for achieving business success.
This section gives an overview of your brewery’s mission statement, your business goals, and information about your menu offering. You should also describe your location and why it’s ideal, in addition to your brewery design and why you chose it. Lastly, make sure to mention your legal structure, whether you will be a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation.
As more breweries open up and enter the landscape, it’s important to know how your business operates differently. Your Marketplace Analysis section looks at where your competitors are doing well, and what gaps you can fill.
For example, you can look at competitor offerings, marketing strategies, business functions, and branding. What beers are they offering? What does their menu look like? Do they offer guided tours? What makes your brewery different?
There are many points that you can include in your Marketplace Analysis to show how your brewery is unique. For example, you can write about your target customer and why they would choose to visit your brewery over others. You can also include research on your competitors, and identify opportunities where gaps exist that you can fill. Can you compete with better business hours, menu variety, or guest tour experiences? It’s also important to note any industry trends, like economic or social impacts, and challenges that you plan to overcome.
Let’s look at an example. If you were writing a microbrewery business plan, you could include data about several new tech companies setting up shop in the area. Then you might include aligned research that microbreweries are more likely to be visited by young professionals in their twenties to thirties. Now you have a case to argue why your location will attract more foot traffic over other breweries that target an older demographic.
Having a steady flow of customers is key to the longevity of your brewery business. To achieve this, you’ll need to create a marketing plan that keeps customers returning.
Here, you’ll discuss how you will keep your brand top of mind for your consumers. Outline any key differentiators, like what customers can get from your brewery that they can’t get elsewhere. To figure out your differentiators, ask yourself a few questions:
In this subsection, describe how your pricing compares to competitors. Here are a few questions you can answer in your pricing strategy:
Remember that your pricing strategy needs to cover the costs of production and leave room for profitability!
Here are a few restaurant marketing ideas that can be incorporated into your brewery plan:
Here you’ll describe how you will put the plan you’ve described so far in place. This means outlining everything from your team, to suppliers, insurance, and licensing:
The financial section of your brewery business plan should demonstrate your potential for achieving revenue growth. This is especially important if you are trying to get financing from potential investors.
Include any documents that demonstrate your financial viability, like balance sheets, cash flow, and income statements. You can also show that you are financially responsible with loan and banking statements. All of these documents demonstrate that you are capable of handling cash and making timely payments – two characteristics that are highly valued by investors.
You can also include your financial goals, such as quarterly goals for your revenue growth. To demonstrate how you will achieve these, you can provide revenue projections for the next five to 10 years.
This section should include your costs, such as labor and training, rent, supplies such as ingredients, marketing, and brewing equipment. Remember to always explain how your profit will outweigh your costs to demonstrate your potential for success.
To keep track of financial information more accurately, you can use accounting software like MarginEdge, Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, or Shogo.
If you’re looking for more information on how to break down your financial section, it’s good to reference a brewery business plan example.
This section should highlight the strongest points of your business plan to tell your brewery’s story, and show your reader why your brewery is unique and worthy of investment. It should also describe how your business will grow and achieve financial profitability.
Make sure to include:
Now that you’ve completed the written component of your business plan, it’s time to polish up your presentation skills! You’ll need to memorize all of your key points, and get your business plan in front of the right people.
Once your plan is ready to go, send it to your investor contacts, and network with as many people as you can to get more leads and referrals. You can also send an email introduction to your target reader and let them know you have a plan you’d like to send.
If you’re meeting in person, or by Zoom, it is helpful to prepare a presentation that covers the main elements of your brewery business plan. Setting up one-to-one meetings will also create a personal connection, and allow time for questions. To prepare for your presentation, think of questions or objections your audience might ask, and have prepared answers.
Remember to be transparent and honest. By showing you care about answering questions to your fullest ability, you’ll show investors that you have the drive to potentially work together to achieve your brewery business goals.
If you’re opening a brewery, you should highly consider writing a brewery business plan. While it may seem like a lot of work, the time and sweat that you put into your plan will most certainly pay off in the long term. A thorough brewery business plan can help you ensure your business can launch successfully, thrive, and grow.
Looking for a brewery business plan example? You can find many ideas in TouchBistro’s brewery business plan template. Inside, you’ll find inspiration with industry-specific tips, such as ideas for how to write a microbrewery business plan, and more!
Debra is the Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro, where she writes about the latest food and restaurant industry trends. In her spare time, Debra enjoys baking and eating together with family and friends. Her favorite creations include chocolate cake with Italian meringue buttercream, mile-high lemon meringue pie, and fresh naan with tahini sauce.
By Katherine Pendrill
Get the latest restaurant trends and ideas in your inbox.