Well, OK, So Now What?
After surviving the licensing gauntlet, participating in our first public pour, what exactly is the next move? Our eyes are set on composing a beautiful taproom paired with the commercial brewing equipment necessary to showcase our craft. However, before that crater is dug, we want to establish outlets for our beer to be publicly sipped and sampled.
In order to do so, all free time is allocated to assembling our Ben Lomond brewhouse. This is about as simple as explaining taxes to a ten year old. Here’s a checklist of what we’re currently doing:
- Cutting, welding and crafting all necessary equipment. To keep expenses low, we do as much as possible ourselves. This includes building a custom brew stand for our brew kettles and mash tun.
- Playing a barren version of hide and seek with upright freezers. With a little bit of electrical configuration, upright freezers are converted into temperature controlled lager fermentation chambers. Pretty cool (pun intended). After four weeks of seeking, we’ve found three, but need eight. What's that? Oh, we're glad you asked! Yes, searching for upright freezers in the East Bay sucks.
- Large quantities of equipment require large amounts of power. Therefore, digging trenches and running new electrical to provide sufficient power is a must (unless you're into half-assed beer, which we're not?)
- Finding ingredients. Being in a transition stage, we don’t have the need for bulk ingredient orders, which makes items like hops, harder to come by and more expensive. Not to mention that certain hops are harder to come by than Donald Trump at a Santa Cruz Warriors' game.
- Finally the fun: brewing beer. A full day or more must be dedicated to brewing every style of beer. We've currently mapped out 12 different styles to brew and share with you in the coming months :)
Once the above tasks are completed, things should be seamless, right? Maybe, but two minor hurdles remain:
- Our cold storage is limited. Once we make it, where do we put it?
- At this stage, even if every potential order is fulfilled, there’s a good chance we won't make money before we scale up our system...yikes! (investors, hopefully you just skipped over #2)
If we’re not raking in the dough, then why choose this avenue?
By starting a small distribution operation, Humble Sea beer will be available at select restaurants and tap houses. Better yet, experimenting with new recipes on a small scale is a cost effective way to find out what our community of beer drinkers want. Think of this way, it's a dry-hopped version of The Lean Startup methodology. Build. Measure. Learn. Repeat.
Ben Lomond is not a long term solution. However, once the barn is transformed into a well oiled machine, our effort will transition to crafting our beautiful taproom.