In the sixth episode of The Pint, Moye White attorney Billy Jones goes back to school with Peyton Meson, CFO of Laws Whiskey and professor in the Applied Craft Brewing program at Regis University.  Enjoy this socially distanced podcast discussing the business of founding a craft brewery. 

The Pint is a freewheeling discussion of craft beer, craft spirits, and the law. Listen to The Pint on Spotify, iTunes, or anywhere podcasts are available.

Episode 6 Synopsis

Colorado is home to over 400 craft breweries. Many people have the dream to one day own and operate a brewery. But what does it actually take to start a brewery and be successful?

We met with Peyton Mason of Law's Whiskey to discuss his experience. Peyton teaches the Business of Craft Brewing for Regis University's Applied Craft Brewing Certificate Program. He combines his experience in the industry with three years of teaching to break down the top five things you need to know about starting a craft brewing business.

First things first.  Just because you love brewing beer doesn't mean you'll be a great brewery owner. Owning any business is challenging, and it takes a unique set of skills to run a brewery and brew well.

So, here are Peyton's five things to consider before starting a brewery business:

  1. It's not just about brewing beer. It's obvious that those who make craft beer are passionate about what they do. A brewer's dedication and passion are showcased in their product. Sometimes students don't understand that when you're running a business, you aren't necessarily the one brewing beer. As a small business owner, you spend the majority of your time doing other things.
  2. You have to manage employees. When you're getting started, you need at least two to three, on the low end, part-time staff to run your taproom. This means you are dealing with managing schedules, different personalities, and systematic process preferences. In addition, you have to consider the personal and professional desires of your employees and utilize their skill sets appropriately.
  3. There are other skills needed to run a brewery. To ensure that your business is successful, you need a variety of skills. Your day to day could run from pouring beer and talking to customers, cleaning the brewhouse (a lot of janitorial work), or everyone's favorite - accounting (proper fund management). As an owner, you have many hats to wear.
  4. Don't be undercapitalized. Starting a brewery is a tough business. You may have the best business plan and the best beer, but not having enough money is going to cause problems. You need to be able to plan for growth, maneuver an economic downturn or a pandemic, or buy new equipment. So, you have to plan for these things and realize that something always comes up. Don't be cheap. Don't plan on what you expect is going to happen—plan for every possibility. You need to make sure you have a cushion in your budget or your operating model. Whatever new thing that comes your way may not put you out of business, but it will set you back. 
  5. Don't spread yourself too thin. The heyday of craft beers is past us, and the landscape is more competitive. And, your competitors are operating under a more mature business model. Now you are facing competition right out of the gate, and you have to find a better way to differentiate your beer and your brewery. Start with figuring out who you are going to be. Are you going to be a neighborhood brewery, a family-friendly brewery, or a distribution focused brewery? Whatever you decide, own it, build it out, and do it really really well. Then you can look at other avenues of income. 

Despite the upfront challenges, working in the craft brewing industry is an incredibly rewarding career. If you're interested in the Applied Craft Brewing Program at Regis, learn more here.

To learn insights from Peyton on craft brewing business, tune in to episode six of The Pint. Subscribe now, so you don't miss future episodes!

What We are Drinking: Laws Whiskey House, 4 Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey - Bonded


About Moye White LLP

Moye White LLP is a business law firm serving clients throughout the United States and internationally, with offices in Colorado and Georgia. The firm provides legal representation across a wide variety of transactional and litigation matters, offering strategic, business-oriented counsel to public, private, and governmental clients in complex business and real estate transactions and disputes. As one of the earliest national law firms to achieve B Corp certification, Moye White meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. For more information, please visit moyewhite.com or contact Managing Partner Thomas List at 303-292-2900 or tom.list@moyewhite.com.

Patrick Akers

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsLitigation

J. David Arkell

Attorney

Alternative Dispute ResolutionConstructionLitigationAdvanced Energy

Evelyn A. Ashley

Of Counsel

Business and CorporateEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesIntellectual PropertyInternational Transactions and Dispute ResolutionMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesSoftware and Technology

Jack W. Berryhill

Attorney

Alternative Dispute ResolutionLitigation

Allen N. Bradley

Attorney

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesTaxTrusts and EstatesAdvanced EnergySoftware and TechnologySustainability

Caleena S. Braig

Attorney

ConstructionEmploymentLitigation

James R. Cage

Attorney

ConstructionEmploymentIntellectual PropertyLitigationFinancial ServicesInsurance

Vikrama S. Chandrashekar

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsLitigationAdvanced EnergyBrewing and DistillingMedia and Entertainment

Frederic K. “Jerry” Conover

Of Counsel

Alternative Dispute ResolutionLitigation

Amy M. DeColibus

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingConstructionMergers and AcquisitionsReal Estate

Rebecca B. DeCook

Attorney

Administrative LawEmploymentLitigationPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalAdvanced EnergyCommunications

Matt Dillman

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Bobby W. Dishell

Attorney

Business and CorporateCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal EstateAdvanced EnergyCannabisSustainability

Tom Dolphin

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Keely C. Downs

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingMultifamily, Planned Communities, Condos, and HousingReal EstateAdvanced EnergySustainability

Georginne Dudash

Attorney

Real Estate

Andrew T. Flynn

Attorney

EmploymentLitigationInsurance

Paul R. Franke, III

Co-Chair, Litigation Section

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsBusiness and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesLitigationPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalReal EstateCommunicationsFinancial Services

Heidi J. Gassman

Co-Chair, Business Section

Business and CorporateCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingConstructionReal EstateTrusts and Estates

Steven J. Gockley

Attorney

ConstructionReal Estate

Garrett Graff

Attorney

Business and CorporateInternational Transactions
and Dispute Resolution
Mergers and AcquisitionsReal EstateBrewing and DistillingFood and BeverageManufacturing

Charles Greenhouse

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsLitigationReal Estate

Scott P. Greiner, LL.M. (Tax)

Attorney

Business and CorporateTaxTrusts and Estates

Arthur K. Griffin

Attorney

Business and CorporateCommercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal EstateBrewing and Distilling

Lynne M. Hanson

Attorney

Business and CorporateFranchise and DistributionIntellectual PropertyMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalFinancial ServicesFood and Beverage

Nick R. Herrick

Attorney

ConstructionEmploymentLitigationInsurance

Allison M. Hester

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsLitigation

Patrick J. Hickey

Attorney

EmploymentFinance and SecuritiesLitigationReal EstateAdvanced Energy

Jessica R. Hunter

Attorney

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesIntellectual PropertyPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesBrewing and DistillingFood and Beverage

Karla Jaramillo

Attorney

LitigationCannabis

William F. Jones

Attorney

Franchise and DistributionIntellectual PropertyLitigationReal EstateTrusts and EstatesBrewing and DistillingFood and BeverageInsuranceManufacturing

Katie Kamenetsky

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Danielle M. Kane

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentConstructionReal EstateSustainability

David J. Katalinas

Attorney

Business and CorporateFranchise and DistributionMergers and AcquisitionsReal EstateFood and Beverage

John W. Kellogg

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsBusiness and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesFranchise and DistributionMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesAdvanced EnergyManufacturingBlockchain Technology

Craig J. Knobbe

Attorney

Business and CorporateFranchise and DistributionMergers and AcquisitionsReal EstateBrewing and DistillingFood and Beverage

Ezra Kramer

Attorney

Business and CorporateEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesIntellectual PropertyMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesAdvanced EnergySoftware and TechnologyBlockchain TechnologySustainability

David A. Laird

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsCommercial and Real Estate LendingConstructionLitigationReal EstateFinancial Services

Jennifer Knight Lang

Attorney

ConstructionLitigationReal EstateInsurance

Brendan Leanos

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsBusiness and CorporateCommercial and Real Estate LendingFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalFinancial Services

Chris Levkulich

Attorney

Business and CorporateMergers and AcquisitionsMultifamily and CondoReal EstateTaxTrusts and Estates

Eric B. Liebman

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsConstructionEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesLaw Practice, Regulation, Ethics, and Professional LiabilityLitigationReal EstateTrusts and EstatesAdvanced EnergyFinancial ServicesInsuranceCannabis

Thomas M. List

Managing Partner

Commercial Real Estate LeasingConstructionEmploymentLitigationReal Estate

Stephanie D. Loughner

Attorney

Business and CorporateEmploymentPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesReal Estate

Charles F. Luce, Jr.

Attorney

Intellectual PropertyLaw Practice, Regulation, Ethics, and Professional LiabilitySoftware and Technology

Joseph W. Mark

Attorney

Alternative Dispute ResolutionBusiness and CorporateLitigation

Chris McCall

Attorney

Business and CorporateEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesIntellectual PropertyLitigationCannabis

Courtney A. McShane

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Jacob Millis

Attorney

Business and CorporateMergers and AcquisitionsTax

Jason T. Moilanen

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

John E. Moye

Retired

Business and CorporateLaw Practice, Regulation, Ethics, and Professional LiabilityMergers and AcquisitionsFinancial Services

Dean Nakayama

Chief Operating Officer

Edwin A. Naylor

Attorney

Business and CorporateIntellectual PropertyMergers and AcquisitionsManufacturing

Merc Pittinos

Co-Chair, Real Estate Section

Commercial and Real Estate LendingLitigationReal Estate

Tasha J. Power

Attorney

Commercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Dean Richardson

Co-Chair, Litigation Section

Franchise and DistributionLitigationReal EstateCannabis

Lucas T. Ritchie

Attorney

Business and CorporateEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesLitigationPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalRegulatory and Enforcement DefenseAdvanced EnergyFinancial ServicesInsurance

Zaki Robbins

Co-Chair, Business Section

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalAdvanced Energy

Nikki Roberts

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal EstateFinancial Services

David C. Roos

Attorney

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsFinancial Services

Amy H. Ruhl

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Christopher W. Scolari

Attorney

Trusts and EstatesAdvanced Energy

Erin L. Scott

Attorney

Litigation

Tanya A. Sevy

Attorney

Administrative LawConstructionEmploymentLitigation

Lorni Sharrow, LL.M. (Tax)

Attorney

Trusts and Estates

Michael R. Siavage

Of Counsel

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesIntellectual PropertyMergers and AcquisitionsPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesSoftware and Technology

Jennifer L. Stenman

Attorney

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingMultifamily, Planned Communities, Condos, and HousingReal Estate

Timothy M. Swanson

Attorney

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ RightsCommercial and Real Estate LendingLitigationFinancial Services

AJ Tedeschi

Attorney

Business and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging Companies

Jake J. Tiernan

Co-Chair, Real Estate Section

Commercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate LeasingMultifamily and CondoReal EstateBrewing and Distilling

Daniel C. Wennogle

Attorney

ConstructionLitigationReal Estate

Edward D. (Ted) White

Attorney

Alternative Dispute ResolutionBusiness and CorporateFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalPrivately Held and Emerging CompaniesReal EstateAdvanced EnergyFinancial ServicesSustainability

Thomas Witt

Attorney

Commercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingReal Estate

Mark W. Yoder

Attorney

Business and CorporateCommercial and Real Estate LendingCommercial Real Estate DevelopmentCommercial Real Estate LeasingConstructionEmploymentFinance and SecuritiesMergers and AcquisitionsPrivate Equity and Venture CapitalReal EstateCannabis