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Graham Rausch is Membership Engagement Coordinator at the Brewers Association & Moderator of the BA Forum. He works to provide assistance, resources, and support for the breweries in his region. Graham started out with the Member Services team in 2014, developing a well-rounded knowledge of BA resources during that time. This experience serves him well in helping members navigate the numerous benefits available to them. Graham hails from Milwaukee – he enjoys playing bass, wrestling with his German Shepherd pup, and collecting vinyl. Oh yeah, he loves beer.
Many of the discussions we have at the Brewers Association (BA) revolve around resources and ideas that are specific to the beer industry. We focus on technical brewing, acquiring the right ingredients, building a brand, marketing beers, passing OSHA inspections, and complying with the TTB, among other things. Yet, there is a foundation to breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms alike, that is the common thread of all businesses. That foundation is a well-constructed business plan.
I’m often asked what business planning resources the BA provides, and I point members to our production statistics, benchmarking surveys, insight & analysis articles, and a myriad of Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) presentations covering specific business-related topics. Additionally, Brewers Publications offers The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery, which includes guidelines for business planning and a sample business plan. Despite all this information, though, I still hear questions about the root of the business plan – where to start and how to create one. So, I’ve compiled a handful of resources to help breweries create and maintain a business plan.
We all have preferences on how we digest educational materials. So, the information below comes in multiple formats from a variety of sources. These resources are helpful whether you are looking to create your first business plan or simply want to update your current one. A business plan is a living document that should be updated regularly, rather than a ‘one and done’ springboard for prospective businesses. This is by no means a comprehensive list of resources on this topic, as there are hundreds of them available. Rather, it’s a jumping off point for members who want to establish and expand their knowledge. These resources can help us establish and refresh business plans, in addition to highlighting components we wish to explore further.
As a final note, I’d be remiss not to mention the Brewers Association Forum. This is an excellent place to ask questions and engage with fellow brewery owners as you create and revise your business plans. While each brewery (and therefore business plan) will be unique, there is much to be learned from those around us. I am constantly reminded of the community mindset amongst many breweries, and this a fantastic way to connect and share resources with one another.
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