Did you know that the first Friday of August is International Beer Day? We’ll confess: neither had we until Friday night. The event takes place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world (which, come to think of it, happens most every Friday night). But because we’re always glad to raise a glass to celebrate a group of heroes of small business, here’s our belated: Cheers and Happy International Beer Day, wherever you are! And if all this celebrating has you thinking about starting a craft brewery, we have some suggestions.
Craft breweries in the U.S. have bubbled up from an off-beat semi-hobby to a major industry, comprised primarily of small businesses. However, if you are thinking of starting one, the first thing you should do is join the Brewers Association, the trade association of craft beer brewers and related businesses. The Brewers Association has the educational resources and networking opportunities can help balance your passion with insight and wisdom from the experts.
If you are starting any type of business, check out the SmallBusiness.com Guide to Starting A Business.
A membership in the Brewers Association can connect you with the brewing community. More than 10,000 owners, CEOs, brewers, buyers, marketers, distributors, and managers are individual- or educational-members of BA or work for a company that is a member.
To learn more, pick the membership type that best represents your stage in developing a brewer or related business.
- Brewery Membership
- Allied Trade
- Distributor Membership
- Craft Beer Retailer Membership
- Brewery in Planning Membership
- Individual Membership
- Educational Institution
What exactly is an American craft brewer?
According to Brewers Association, an American craft brewer is (1) Small (2) Independent and (3) Traditional as defined by these three criteria:
Small | Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
Independent | Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member which is not itself a craft brewer.
Traditional | A brewer which has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavors derive from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. (Flavored Malt Beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.)
Joining a trade association as an individual is a great way to begin research into starting any type of business. Spending time with owners or executives in an industry is a unique way to access experienced individuals who have gone through the process you are undertaking.
Another great premium of membership in a trade group are publications and digital news published by the organization. For example, membership in the Brewers Association includes a subscription to The New Brewer, the journal of the Brewers Association. The magazine (and additional copies for staff) is included with a paid Brewers Association membership. Single issues are also for sale online.
And once again, cheers!