Craft brewing is a growing trend that appears to have no ceiling on it. Many home brewers take painstaking steps to create some tasty concoctions. Out of this popular hobby there has been a large influx in people that are taking their hobby to the next level and turning it into a business.
Grand Rapids was named Beer City USA last year and that is in addition to the great number of other West Michigan cities that have seen craft breweries pop up. Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. joined the fray when it announced that it will be moving into the Noble Building in Muskegon, Michigan earlier this week. Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. plans on beginning its construction within the next month and is hoping to be open for business before the end of the year.
So you are a home brewer and your friends and family love what you can do with some hops and a little bit of time. How do you go from home beer maker to professional brewer? It’s not as simple as just getting some bigger equipment and more raw materials.
To begin, the first step is to form a business. If you are turning your hobby into a business you not only need the liability protection that a corporation or a company can provide you but you also need to take those steps to legitimize your business. Being XYZ Brewing, Co. carries more weight than being John Smith brewer.
Real estate is also going to be an issue. Finding a location that fits not only your brewing needs but the other needs and growth of your business is important. There have been a lot of breweries that have moved into historic building because of the atmosphere those buildings add but there can be renovation restrictions as well as restrictions on adding on to the building that can limit your business and need to be considered.
The other elephant in the room when it comes to turning your home brewing hobby to a business is getting a liquor license. Depending on what you want the business to do there are number of different options for licenses from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Getting one of these licenses can be time consuming, take a lot of coordinating, and that can all cost money. Getting local approval, state approval and the other approvals you need for what you want to do takes a lot of planning.
There are other issues that need to be considered including funding, employment issues, and other licenses that might be necessary. All of these issues and planning can be aided by some general counsel of a Grand Rapids business attorney. All of these issues can potentially create huge delays and hit costly snags if they are not done correctly. For a process that is already time consuming and costly, avoiding those further delays and further costs can be vital to getting off on the right foot.
Source: “Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. selects downtown Muskegon location with plans for the Noble Building” by Dave Alexander of MLive.com