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Why Your Brewery Needs a Vision

Building a good business starts with a good vision for the business. Much like children are often asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” a brewery’s vision lays out what its founders hope the organization will become in the future.

Although setting a compelling vision seems straightforward, a 1994 survey of 1,050 executives published in Business Horizons illustrates how challenging it is. When asked to identify the most important traits of effective strategic leaders, 98 percent listed “a strong sense of vision” first. Meanwhile, 9 out of 10 executives admitted they had serious doubts about their own ability to create a good vision. Thus, having a good vision can provide a company with an edge over competitors.

Visions work by getting employees focused on a common path toward a desired end. For example, the vision of one UK-based craft brewery is “to ensure Acorn Brewery will be renowned for brewing excellent quality beers as well as delivering fantastic customer service, by ensuring pride and passion underlines every brew and customer interaction.” One key here is reputation building – the brewery will not be satisfied with providing excellent beer and fantastic service but instead aims to become celebrated in the public domain for these strengths.

Acorn’s vision is brief enough that employees can keep it in the back of their minds as they perform their daily tasks. Imagine, for example, that a tap room customer lodges an unreasonable complaint about the taste of a pint. A server has several obvious options about how to respond – tell the customer they are wrong, offer a refund, or offer a substitute beverage.

Ultimately, the decision should be the one that best supports the focus on reputation building featured in the vision. This will hopefully lead the server to offer both a refund and a different beer and then encourage the newly satisfied customer to post a review describing the great beer and service received.



Contributing Author

Dave Ketchen                                Harbert Eminent Scholar & Professor of Management, Auburn University


Within Auburn’s Brewing Science and Operations program, Dave teaches “The Business of Brewing” – a course devoted to establishing and growing craft breweries. His research and consulting center on the intersection of strategic management, entrepreneurship, and supply chain management. He is a passionate member of the Why Not Win Institute (whynotwin.org) for whom he co-hosts the “20 Minutes of Winning” podcast.


The Key Components: Brewery Business Plan

Derek Wasak

Writing a business plan for your Brewery is important, but it shouldn’t be complicated. This is meant to be an outline to help you prepare to write your brewery business plan that will help you secure funding and help you both start-up and operate your brewery successfully. Here we will give you the basic components of what your brewery business plan should look like and where we can help.

Whether you’re building a business plan to raise money, grow your business, or just need to work through 

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Frosty Beer

What is Proforma?

William Camacho

Forming a new business or a substantial expansion of an existing business is a life changing risk. A proforma transforms that risk to an educated level. This establishes confidence in the process of the person or group undertaking this voyage along with the financiers backing it up.

The goal of authoring a proforma is to reveal the true bottom line to answer one simple question: Are my assumptions viable?

Before the Business Plan

JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson

All your friends love your homebrew. You often hear from them - "Hey, this is better than XYZ Brewery over on Main Street"; " You need to open a brewery"; "I would so hang out there all the time if you opened a brewery."; "This is a medal-winning beer."

Before you start writing that business plan, I encourage you to do a little soul searching and research. There's so much to consider besides "great" beer that plays a factor in your brewery's success.

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The Business Plan

Jeff Mendel

When thinking of starting a brewery, or any business for that matter, it is essential to have a Business Plan which details what you intend to do, how you intend to do it, how much money you will need to accomplish your plan, and the strategies and tactics that will help you achieve success.

The Business Plan has two important purposes. First, the Business Plan is presented to potential investors. It provides investors with the necessary information allowing them to make a most informed investment 


  • Financial Projections

  • Layout Design

  • Equipment Sizing

  • Location Considerations

  • Assemble Proforma

  • Create Business Plan Content

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  • Compare Business Plan to Reality

  • Evaluate Expansion Options

  • Revise Business Plan for Expansion