What is Contract Beer Brewing?
Brewing your own beer can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be a labour-intensive and time-consuming process, especially if you’re new to brewing. If you want your very own custom-brewed beer but don’t want to spend time slaving over a home brew kit, then it might be worth looking into contract brewing.
In this blog post, we will explore the basics of contract beer brewing – what it is, how it works, and what you need to know before getting started. We will also provide some tips for choosing the right contract brewer and walk you through the steps of the contract brewing process. So whether you are a beginner or an experienced homebrewer looking to take your craft to the next level, read on for everything you need to know about contract beer brewing!
How does contract beer brewing work?
Contract beer brewing is a process by which homebrewers or smaller commercial brewers work with other brewers to produce a beer on their behalf. This is generally done in one of two ways: either the brewer contracts with another brewery to produce their recipes under their own brand name, or they collaborate with another brewer to produce a custom beer recipe. In either case, the contract brewer will handle all of the production and packaging processes, while the customer retains full ownership and control over the final product.
The process of contract beer brewing can vary depending on the arrangement between the brewer and customer, but typically it follows this general outline:
- The customer provides their own recipe or chooses a pre-existing recipe from the contract brewer
- The contract brewer produces a small batch of this beer in their own facility
- The customer samples the beer and provides feedback
- The contract brewer makes any necessary adjustments based on this feedback
- The customer approves the final product
- The contractor then produces larger batches of this beer at their facility and packages it for distribution
The benefits of contract beer brewing
While there are some drawbacks to contract brewing, such as a loss of control over the production process, there are also several potential benefits. Perhaps most importantly, contract brewing can help to reduce overhead costs. By outsourcing production to another brewery, you can avoid the need to invest in your own brewing equipment and facilities. This can be a particularly helpful strategy for start-up breweries that are working to keep costs low.
Additionally, contract brewing can help you increase your production capacity without having to make a major investment in new equipment. If you suddenly find yourself unable to keep up with customer demand, contracting with another brewery can be an effective way to bridge the gap.
Contract brewing can also allow your brewing staff to focus on other tasks, such as recipe development or marketing. This can be beneficial in ensuring that your brewery is able to maintain a consistent level of quality and innovation.
Downsides of contract brewing
Although contract brewing can be a cost-effective way to produce beer, there are some risks associated with this method. One of the biggest risks is that the quality of the beer may suffer if the contractor does not have adequate equipment or experience. This could lead to beer that is off-flavour or contaminated, which could damage the reputation of the brand. In addition, contract brewing can create logistical challenges, such as coordinating schedules and ensuring that all of the ingredients are delivered on time. If these challenges are not properly managed, it could lead to delays in production and higher costs.
In some cases it may be difficult to terminate a contract if you are unhappy with the service or the product, or if you experience a reduction in demand for your product.
Overall, contract brewing can be a viable option, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks before entering into an agreement.
Things to consider when choosing a contract brewer
If you’re thinking about working with a contract brewer, there are many factors to consider when making this decision, including the size and scope of your operation, your budget, and your long-term goals. Working with a contract brewer can be a great way to get your business off the ground, but it’s important to do your research and choose a partner that’s a good fit for your company. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision.
- Size and scope: One of the most important factors to consider is the size and scope of your operation. Contract brewers typically have more experience and resources than smaller brewing operations, so they can handle larger volume. If you’re planning on ramping up production quickly or expanding into new markets, working with a contract brewer may be the right choice for you.
- Budget: Another thing to consider is your budget. While working with a contract brewer can save you money upfront, it’s important to make sure that the costs are aligned with your long-term goals. Make sure to get a detailed breakdown of all the costs associated with contract brewing, so there are no surprises down the road.
- Long-term goals: It’s important to think about your long-term goals for the business. If you’re hoping to eventually buy or build your own brewing facility, working with a contract brewer may not be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re happy partnering with someone else to handle production, then contract brewing could be a great way to grow your business.
There are many things to consider when choosing a contract brewer. But if you take the time to do your research and find a partner that’s a good fit for your operation, working with a contract brewer can be a great way to get started in the brewing business.