• Calla Norman

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Craft Brewery?

Updated: Jan 10

Patty, a co-owner of Back Alley Brewing, stirs some mash in a kettle

You’ve been homebrewing for a while, and have just perfected that saison or pilsner. Think you’re ready to start selling it? If so, it might be time for you to start your own craft brewery!

In this article, we’ll cover:

Get the mash mashing and the wort boiling with financing for your startup craft brewery!

Once you have an idea of the costs to start your own brewery, do you know how you’re going to pay for it?

A Honeycomb Credit crowdfunded loan is one option that you can use to pay for part (or all) of your brewery’s buildout - accessing the capital you need and getting some valuable marketing buzz at the same time!

Learn more at www.honeycombcredit.com/beer and sign up below for more information!

Breaking down the overall costs of starting a craft brewery

For the most part, you can expect your new startup craft brewery to cost from $500,000 to $1 million. Of course, this will vary widely depending on the decisions you make about your brewery. Are you gonna start small with just a microbrewery? Build out a taproom and kitchen? What kind of beer are you going to make - is there special equipment you need, like a foeder for making sours? How many people are you looking to employ?

Here’s a really great breakdown of the average cost of a craft six pack, courtesy of the Huffington Post:

a graphic showing a breakdown of the costs of brewing craft beer, using an outline of a beer bottle as a pie chart

As you can see, it’s not just malt and hops. So much goes into making that perfect pint - read on to learn more about the costs of running a craft brewery!

But, before we head on, find out how Honeycomb Credit has helped crowdfund numerous breweries at all different stages of their business journey; from start-up to expanding distribution!

Up-front costs of opening a craft brewery

Brewing equipment

According to IncFile, brewery equipment can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million. Of course, this depends on the scale that you’re trying to brew, as well as what sorts of beer you want to brew.

How much beer are you wanting to brew at a time? A 120 bbl fermenter, for example, will cost you upwards of $40,000, whereas a 1 bbl is more like $2,000. If you want to make sours or saisons, you’ll have to get a foeder, which can cost from $12,000 to $23,000, depending on where you get it.

Aurochs Brewing Company, a Honeycomb alum, used part of their $150,000 crowdfunded raise to purchase a new mash tun to expand their gluten-free brewery business. This allowed them to increase production and expand across the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

So, it’s best to get an idea of how much space you have for brewing equipment, how much you’ll need in order to meet demand, and go from there. You can always start small and get more equipment as you need it and can afford it.

Taproom furnishings

Of course, this depends on the scale of your brewery as well - are you looking for just a small taproom with a bar, or a full-on kitchen with tons of tables and amenities? Webstaurant estimates that taproom furnishings will cost you from $4,000 to $15,000.

Back Alley Brewing Company, a Honeycomb alum, raised $200,500 total to fund their brewery. While the majority of it went to brewing and canning equipment, they also portioned off about $125,000 for the taproom’s buildout and furnishing.

Bottling and distribution

If you want to be able to sell cans and bottles of your beer to send home with customers, you’re going to need to invest in some canning and bottling equipment. A canning line can cost anywhere from $65,000 to $135,000.

Monkey Wrench Brewing was able to fund part of their canning line using their Honeycomb Credit campaign, which raised $34,550 from 23 investors!

A POS system

While hand-writing out receipts by hand might sound twee, it’s time to bring your craft brewery into this century. A POS system can help you keep track of sales and inventory, and also make it easier to process payments. A POS system often has an up-front cost to install, usually around $600-$1,700, then a monthly payment that ranges from $50-$399. The range depends on the service you pick, as well as how many service stations and other amenities you need.