Ever since I brewed my first batch of beer with my friend Clayton, I’ve dreamt of what surely every homebrewer has dreamt of at some point: going pro.
That was about 3 years ago. Now that I’m brewing beer more regularly, that dream is still nagging in the back of my mind. And I think I’m going to do something about it.
I’ve settled on the name Underhill Brewing Company, drawing inspiration from Tolkien’s works, and the fact that we’re planning on building an underground home. The vision I have is to build a separate brewpub on our property, also an underground structure, to add to the aura. I’m picturing a rustic look with exposed beams, wooden barrels behind the counter, and windows into the brewery.
I have been working on plans to upgrade my brewing equipment so I can brew ½ barrel (15 gallon) batches at a time. This is something I can do without the building or property, and be able to perfect recipes and gather feedback in the meantime. I’ve been having people over regularly to sample my brews so far, and once I’m happy with some of my recipes, I want to enter them in some homebrew competitions and hopefully earn some recognition.
One thing that I’m hoping to try, should I actually get this thing off the ground, is a crowdfunded business model. The idea is that customers would pledge money towards the current beer campaigns. I will only brew those that get successfully funded, at which point the customers would be charged the amount they pledged. The goal is for it to allow me to brew smaller batches of beer while still meeting demands. I haven’t seen any other breweries do this yet, but since this model has been successful in other industries, I thought it would be interesting to try in the beer world.
The biggest hurdle, I think, will be the legal process of securing a brewery license, passing health department codes, and tying up any other loose ends before I can start selling beer. This process can take up to a year, but I need the building before I can start, so this plan is necessarily several years out.
This fall, we will be moving in with my parents to save up for our dream property. That property will be the first step for so many of our dreams, Underhill Brewing Company one of them (and probably the tastiest).