I have been doing a tremendous amount of reading lately. To put things in perspective, I don’t really like reading. But I have enjoyed all the books I have been consuming. Maybe it is because I actually have a passion for the stuff I am reading. There is a lot to this “I’m opening a brewpub” thing. There are things you knew you didn’t know, things you didn’t know you were supposed to know, and things you thought you knew until you learned you were [mostly] wrong. As I read these books, I have been going through a roller-coaster of emotions between excitement over the new stuff I am learning and terror over how on Earth I am going to accomplish this.
Since opening a brewpub is about a lot more than just brewing beer, I have had to read a wide range of books that I never thought would cross my path. Here is a quick list of some of the books I have read or am in the process of reading since I decided to do this crazy thing.
The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery by Dick Cantwell was the first book I read once I decided to jump into the deep end. It is a good primer on all the stuff it takes to start a brewery (hence the name). I have found as I am going through this process that it sticks pretty close to the shallow end, but it was great for giving me a start without overwhelming me. It is not the end all, be all of opening a brewery but it can’t be with the differences between each and every brewery. The great take away I got from it was that it gave me an introduction into all the things that I needed to learn about and I could delve into those topics without being ignorant of what I was seeking.
When I started to take the viewpoint that what I was opening was actually a restaurant making its own beer, I decided I needed more education in opening a restaurant. Restaurant Success By The Numbers by Roger Fields was a great book that debunked some of the myths about restaurant failure rates and presented the opening and running of a restaurant in terms of financial interests and number crunching. I like numbers so this book really spoke to me. It touched on many of the same small business items the brewery book did but in a way that was a little more satisfying. It also touched on the front of the house and back of the house items that I only had a vague understanding of.
I also made a quick read of A Brewer’s Guide to Opening a Nano Brewery: Your $10,000 Brewery Consultant for $15 by Dan Woodske to get the small nano-brewery bootstrap point of view.
Now, I have come to the mindset that what I am really doing is starting a small business that happens to be a restaurant and brewery. Consequently, I have been reading a lot of small business related items. I have been reading Business for Beginners: From Research and Business Plans to Money, Marketing and the Law (Quick Start Your Business) by Frances McGuckin. I’m almost finished with that. I have been reading a bunch of articles on SBA.gov and SCORE.org. I still want to read more. I am half done reading Commercial Leases: Negotiate the Best Terms by Janet Portman and Fred Steingold
I have still managed to read a few more books on beer and brewing. I now have the entire Brewing Elements Series (Malt, Water, Hops, and Yeast). I have finished the Malt book. I also recently got Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff and was gifted Craft Brew: 50 Homebrew Recipes from the World’s Best Craft Breweries by Euan Ferguson book. I was also gifted The Beer Geek Handbook: Living a Life Ruled by Beer by Patrick Dawson and Greg Kletsel, which was a fun little read. [Did I just use the words fun and read in the same sentence? Something must be wrong with me.] The next book I plan on purchasing is Quality Management: An Essential Guide for Brewers by Mary Pellettieri. All of this has me behind in my normal BYO, The New Brewer, and Zymurgy reading.
Meanwhile, Chef Sallie has been doing quite a bit of reading herself. She has been preparing Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) documentation and getting her Food Manager Certification. There is a ton of reading that goes along with all that stuff, so I want to make sure I acknowledge her suffering as well