When you think you are getting pretty good at brewing beer (your friends all say so) the urge to start making some money to support this grand hobby pushes you toward opening your own place, getting the necessary permits and licenses, and start charging money for your liquid creations.
The unofficial definition of a nanobrewery is a licensed brewery that produces less than 5,000 barrels of beer in a year for sale to the general public. For example, the national limit on homebrewing is 200 gallons per household, or about six barrels. There are other characteristics of a brewery that determine whether a nano has achieved microbrewery status, such as how it goes about establishing its identity and availability to the general public.
You may want to limit the risk you have and start small, such as finding a few local pubs to put kegs on tap on a recurring basis, setting up a mini-taproom in your garage and opening it up on weekends. You probably will keep your day job.
If you have some capital and some partners to help absorb the risk, you may look for some commercial space, often in a Quonset hut, or storage locker style warehouse space in a run down industrial area.
You will need a business plan to get financing and that will include thinking about your future a little bit more. Will you serve food? Will you have food trucks? When do you move from 1bbl to 10bbl? How many different styles will you offer? How many days a week will you need to brew?
Most of the growth in the craft beer industry is from these small entrepreneurs who may make tasty beer but are many years away, if ever, from opening multiple locations and selling their products in multiple states.
Take a look at the small breweries on our drop down to learn more about what motivates each of these small brewers and what they see for their future.