While opening is the most exhilarating celebration of your dream becoming reality and creates the most fanfare, it’s also the biggest test of your preparation to this point.
Consider a soft opening before your big launch so you can test all of those pieces and tweak them. Make sure your staff is comfortable and give them practice with friends and family. Take extra time to be sure your reports are run properly at the end of the night, that you enter them into your accounting system (even if that’s just a spreadsheet and a cash box/bank deposit), and that you have written procedures for everything so it happens that way when you aren’t present. Test your staff, online ordering system, and your POS system with random scenarios.
Keep in mind the most essential of brewery checklist items as well: How does your beer taste? Have you started setting up lab systems and/or a tasting strategy/schedule? How often will you be doing inventory of everything? What does your cleaning schedule look like?
Other than getting physical systems in place, be sure to review all of your insurance, business, and employment compliance components. Missteps in the first few weeks of being open can be tough to overcome, so reach out to your support team of vendors and industry professionals to be sure you have everything covered. Remember your tax payments on all levels.
Feeling a little out of your depth and overwhelmed is normal at this point. There is way too much going on, and the feeling of forgetting something is always at the back of your mind. As we do at every point, we encourage you to continue to check in with your resources to be sure you’re on track. (Educational Resources) It helps to have that calm, objective vendor, brewer peer, or consultant to reassure you that all is well or remind you of the little things.
The magic at this point? Document it all: take pictures, make videos, save souvenirs of the journey to use as evergreen content for all kinds of marketing going forward. Share the celebration with the world as you planned in the previous phases. And make sure to soak up the satisfaction and a beer or two yourself. You’ve earned it!