Brew Law 101

If you read my last post, the next day of my project was nowhere near as exciting. Now that I am familiar with the specifics of the brewing process, it is time to delve into the small business aspect. As I mentioned briefly before, Kevin and Sarah are interested in expanding South Bay Brewing Company. However, they are lacking the time and resources to really get started. That’s where I come in.

The entire day I was at the Manhattan Beach Library studying up on brew law. For me, this was the first step to understanding what it would take to expand. Because breweries obviously deal with alcohol, it is a much more complicated process to find a place to work than, say, a bakery. What I was unaware of before was the many different kinds of breweries. For example, you could have a “craft brewery” which is described as small, traditional, and independent or you could have a “brewpub” which where at least 25% of the beer must be sold on-site (these are often restaurants). There are also packaging breweries and contract brewing companies. It isn’t as hard to find a place, like a warehouse, but that can all change if the beer is being served on-site, like in a brewpub or a tasting room.

This was one of the many details I was learning about as well as things like taxes, how to get funded, budgeting, location, and permits, and what kind of merchandise to give away for free, and what not to give away (hint: no free beer). But other than that, what I really took away from that day was once again, brewing is not easy. The physical tasks aren’t easy but the legal and business-y tasks are even harder to navigate.