There’s so much going on in the beer world lately that it’s tough to keep up, but we’re hearing a lot of buzz about nanobreweries. What the heck are nanobreweries? They fit right between homebrewed beer and craft beers. They are extremely small beer-making operations that are usually one or two guys in a garage making their dream happen. They’re brewing in a similar manner to homebrewers, but they’re not just doing it as a casual hobby – they’re selling it, too. The amount of nanobreweries across the country continues to grow and there are more than 200 currently in operation.
Nanobreweries generally range in size from a 1.5 barrel capacity to a 7 barrel capacity. To put that into perspective, craft breweries can usually do about 100 to 200 barrels at a time. Like we said, nanobreweries are small. This doesn’t mean they are out of the game, though. Quite the contrary – many are encountering so much demand that they can’t even keep up.
What’s the big deal about these mini breweries? First of all, the bar and restaurant industries are encountering demand for all things local, and have been for quite some time. How can they set themselves apart? By selling beer made by the guy down the street with a small operation and a lot of passion. And, since the nanobreweries are unable to make a huge amount of beer at a time, business owners that buy it know they’re getting a product that is only being sold at a few other places – or, better yet, they’re the only one selling it. It makes them different, unique and special to their customers.
Nanobreweries are not that cheap to start, but compared to a full blown craft beer operation, they’re a pretty good deal; nanobreweries can start for about $10,000 while a craft brewery could cost more than $1 million. Nanobreweries still have to meet state and federal licensing requirements, but again, the entire process is a lot less arduous than starting a larger operation. This makes it economically viable for homebrewing enthusiasts to test the waters and see if they can make a beer that sells, or if they should just stick to their day jobs.
Are there any great nanobreweries where you live? Are you thinking of starting one? Tell us about it.