Wee Humble Advice on Starting and Running a Brewery

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A standing-room-only crowd—including dozens of breweries-in-planning along with well-established brewers—reaped the benefits of the years of experience of Tom Hennessy of Colorado Boy Pub in Ridgway, Colo. at Thursday’s Craft Brewers Conference.

Presenting “A Wee Humble Pub: A Simple, Less Expensive Way to Own, Start and Run Your Own Brewery,” Hennessy offered nuts-and-bolts advice on topics such as raising money for the venture, finding the perfect location (“Buy an existing restaurant,” he urged), doing paperwork, putting together equipment, branding, creating the right environment, ordering schwag, planning business systems, choosing the right employees, and training.

Hennessy, who has been brewing professionally since opening his first brewpub, IL Vicino, in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1993, also offers a one-week immersion course in his Colorado brewery for individuals. His practical advice (“Don’t do anything less than 5 barrels.” “Position the brewhouse as close to the bar as possible.” “Have a checklist for everything.”) resonated with conference attendees who are planning to start their own breweries.

Jill Redding