Whether you're an established brewery looking to expand,
you've already made your first few sales or you're simply
interested in getting into the brewery industry, one thing is
certain: you likely won't get very far without a solid business
plan in place. A business plan essentially functions as a road map,
guiding you through every stage of growth in an organized,
structured way so you can reach your short- and long-term
Not only will a business plan provide you with an overall
direction for your brewery, it's also a useful tool to have
when you're approaching potential investors, lending
government grant agencies. The same goes for prospective
vendors, suppliers, partners, employees and marketing agencies.
Ultimately, an effective business plan should serve as the
foundation of every business decision you make. Below are some key
points that should be a part of your brewery business strategy.
Establish Business Goals
The very first component of any business plan is to establish
your goals. For a brewery, you may want to look at profitability,
growth, product development, services, distribution and community
support, to name just a few areas. These goals should encompass the
short, medium and long term. Most importantly, they must also be
quantifiable – assign responsibilities, track progress and
reward successful completion of each objective.
Determine Your Product Lineup and
Producing every type of beer out there from day one can be a
challenge. It's better to do one or a few things extremely well
than to try and appeal to every single person's tastes. Once
you know what you're producing, you'll need to hone in on
your supply chain management strategy, how you'll distribute
your product and what price point to sell your products
Identify Your Business Market
The brewery industry is the largest component of Canada's
alcoholic beverage sector , with 10 million Canadians consuming
beer on an annual basis. While this provides a huge market to tap
into, it also means you need to develop a product that will stand
out, resonate with buyers and align with industry trends. Your
business plan should encapsulate who your primary target audience
is, where they reside, their purchasing behaviours and core
Develop a Hiring Strategy
The most successful businesses are built off the dedication,
innovation and skills of the employees they hire. Identify how many
people you'll need to run the brewery on a day-to-day basis, as
well as what skills each role requires. In addition, consider what
abilities you are personally missing and make an effort to hire
those who can supplement your expertise.
Review the Competition
There are hundreds of microbreweries and full-scale breweries
across Canada. Competition is fierce , but so is opportunity.
It's important to understand your competitive landscape by
conducting online searches, reviewing regional and national
statistics and potentially launching
a thorough market research study. There are also less
traditional ways of collecting data, such as visiting your
competitors' brewery, attending trade shows, surveying existing
and prospective customers, speaking with suppliers and contacting a
trade organization. Once you understand how the competition
operates, consider adopting their 'best practices' while
still finding ways to make your product stand out.
Establish a Company Culture
Every brewery has its own unique qualities beyond what's
sold on the shelves. As a final step in developing your business
plan, consider what kind of internal and external culture you want
to create. Define your core values – whether it's new
product innovation, products for those with food allergens or a
traditional method of brewing. Whatever the case, those core values
should manifest themselves in every other element of your business
plan, including creating actionable steps to establish and protect
the culture, as well as training for new or existing
While this blog post has outlined the core areas your business
plan should contain, finding the time to develop a comprehensive,
achievable strategy while also trying to launch your brewery can be
challenging. However, in exploring these areas, you should be able
to start and expand your business with confidence. If you require
assistance in building your plan, conducting research or strategies
to tailor your plan for lenders and investors, working with an
experienced professional, like those in MNP's food &
beverage processing industry group, can help you take your brewery
from a mere concept to a full-fledged company.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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