In the last post, I explained that this blog is a place to gather my thoughts and cast a vision about starting a brewery. To ensure that all partners are striving for the same thing, a clear vision is crucially important. Last time, I explained that my ultimate goal is to help, to inspire, and to create. This time, I’ll explain that another reason I want to start a brewery is to help bring the craft beer renaissance to the Monterey area.
I have already written about why I think the craft beer scene is really exciting right now. See my previous post for more on that. And I have written about the fantastic market climate awaiting a vibrant craft beer scene in the Monterey area. Click here to read about that.
This post is more about casting a vision for the part that I want to contribute to that vibrant scene. Notice that I describe the brewery below as if it already exists. This is not to mislead nor to pretend that the project is more advanced than it is. This is to cast the vision more vividly, to bring life to the vision, to make it clearer to others.
Join me on the tour…
I feel more pride in seeing the product in stores, than I do from seeing crowds at our facility.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to see people come to our facility to enjoy a pint and conversation. Any modern brewery needs to be open to the public minimally for tours, marginally for tasting or drinking the product, and preferably for eating too.
Onsite food service is especially important for craft breweries, which are destinations in themselves. People seek and go out of their way for craft breweries. They want to enjoy the product where it is made. They want to go behind the scenes and feel a part of the operation. They want to sit a while and enjoy time with their friends and family.
Anyway, I feel the most pride when I’m pushing my cart down the grocery store aisle and I see our beer on the shelf. When I am visiting a friend in another city and I see our beer on the menu, that’s what really gives me “a kick in the pants,” as one of my best bosses used to say.
That’s why we are a production microbrewery. We package our product for distribution. We make beer in kegs to go into taverns and restaurants. We make beer in bottles or cans to go into grocery stores and liquor stores.
In our first year, we have a 15-BBL system with an annual capacity of 3,000 BBL per year. We distribute our beer in our local community. A distributor takes our products to a larger audience.
We want to see our beer go as far as San Francisco to the North, San Luis Obispo to the South, and Fresno to the east. We are planning to expand beyond that.
Food Menu and Beer Menu
The facility has a small, onsite eatery for people to come enjoy our product where it is made. Our community is our core market and it is our focus. It is where we get the most immediate feedback. So we focus there and treat our community well. We also host visitors from outside the area, who bring our message back home with them.
The food menu features creative, custom items. Ingredients are fresh and nutritious. Our organic ingredients are healthy for the consumer and healthy for the planet. We have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free items for our enlightened, progressive customers, but others will enjoy these items just as well.
Of course the beer is great. We brew new styles with lots of flavor. We use creative recipes to keep it interesting.
These are the kinds of beers that are driving the expansive growth of the craft beer industry. These are the beers we love. These are the beers that are mostly absent from the other breweries in Monterey, which focus more on Old World beer styles. Again, see my previous post for more on that.
Our beers are made from local ingredients when possible. We work with local farmers and encourage them to bring production of beer ingredients back to California.
Ambiance and message
A huge part of the craft beer movement is about buying local goods and the relationships that develop from that. We welcome visitors to the brewery. We want them to come visit us and feel comfortable here.
The eatery at the brewery is a place where people can drink their favorite beer where it is made, or try our latest flavors. It is a place where people can sit and enjoy a pint with friends. It is casual and comfortable. It is quiet enough for meaningful conversations. Family-style seating encourages new relationships. Kids and pets are welcome. Indeed, our strongest clientele is young families.
It is not so loud that we have to raise our voice to talk. The music is not blaring. There is no television. We do not sell beer by the pitcher. We do not have a full bar. I know more about what I don’t want than what I do want. This is an area in which I need to hone my vision. I need to learn to better express that vision to potential partners. I’ll use this blog as a place to explore it more in the future.
What do you see when you imagine your ideal local microbrewery? What do you taste? What do you smell? Please share your ideas in the comments below.