Brewery financing isn’t a sexy topic that generates page views and re-tweets but it is something that really needs to be talked about more and I think with as much creativity as the recipes for our beloved beers.
This past month, I have spoken to many home brewers who are itching to turn pro but are stuck at the financial hurdle. Now getting financing in 2012 is not easy especially for a capital and ingredient laden venture like brewing and especially when you factor in the fact that opening a brewery takes the patience of a saint to work through layers of forms and different arms of the alcohol and tax enforcement bureaus.
But I have to believe there is an easier way to do this. Current brewers always seems helpful to the next generation (in my experiences) and there is always Kickstarter. (though managing a successful campaign is almost a full time job)
And I think the easier way has to come via the city government. There needs to be a business friendly person(s) that can help navigate the the obstacle course with a brewer or baker or a candlestick maker. An artisanal guide to business as it were.
A small office that can set-up a timeline and a check list of things that need to be done but would also liaison with the city, state and federal parties like the alcohol boards and state tax departments to make sure that permits are moving through the system and not delaying opening. Someone who can finesse the system (legally) more efficiently. And while I am pie in the skying here, someone who also contact banks to get loans pushed through that might otherwise be on the cusp of being approved.
It is in the city’s best interest to have more start up business to pay tax and fill vacant properties. The banks best interest is to have loans being paid back with interest.
And if we can’t get city hall to buy into a program like this why won’t the banks. Shouldn’t they have reams of data on each type of business that needs loans. Don’t they see the explosive growth in the craft beer segment. Can’t they actually help someone out rather than gouging people for having the temerity to do business with an actual teller or use a debit card?
I have seen breweries and bars be catalysts for urban renewal just by serving great beer. How about someone make the financing side easier so that the brewers can keep making new and great tasting beers.