"From what it looks like, you homebrew, and then you drop the thousands upon thousands of dollars you need for the necessary permits and licenses to sell your product, and then for some bizarre reason you keep your day job.
See? It is crazy. Totally batshit insane."The answer in Hess Brewing Company's case is that there are two of us. While we do have the same name, Michael--which makes things a bit confusing--there are in fact two of us working on this nanobrewery concept.
First is Michael Hess, owner, brewmaster and vaunted leader - the guy who was first crazy enough to say "go for it". Mike is the one with the real "paying job", now running two businesses at once! who foots the bill around here. Mike has been busy handcrafting ales and lagers for 15 years now, much to the delight of his friends, and soon, if all goes as planned, all of you!
I, Michael Skubic, will be the guy going around to bars and restaurants attempting to sell our handcrafted ales. For now, I work in the brewery full-time, drafting blueprints, Charlie work, getting all the TTB/ABC/DEH paperwork ready for signature, painting, carpentry... More importantly for our readers and followers, I'm the guy updating the blog/twitter/facebook. I am just "crazy" enough to go along for the ride. Crazy like a fox. Also, does guano make you go insane? I always wondered where that saying came from.
"What do you think? Starting that small is an undeniably cool (and even romantic) concept, but I wonder at how sustainable the businesses are. It’s great to see that some of the ones listed in the link above are making a step up in growth, but how many will successfully make that step, and how many will make that step at all? Are these merely extended hobbyists or is this a viable entrance strategy to the craft beer industry?"From the nanobreweries (and former nanos) I have seen it can be an extended hobby or a viable entrance strategy. Breweries like Two Beers and Schooner Exact have started on 1 barrel systems and have grown into 7-10 barrel systems in a matter of months, while others like Healdsburg and Steffan's Aldergrove have stayed at 10 gallons to 31 gallon systems for a couple of years now.
How are we going to grow? That remains to be seen. For now we are just about through all of Tax and Trade Bureau licensing, we just have the interview tomorrow morning. After that we just need to show our TTB approval to the Alcoholic Beverage Control and we will be a legal brewery! All we have after that is the Dept. of Health. Wish us luck!