Craft Brewing How to "Hop" into This Cool Business by Curtis Battles{4:00 minutes to read} Back in April 2014, I was introduced to a group of guys whom I call “The Beer Boys.” They come from different backgrounds: two are restaurateurs, one is in construction, and the other is a brewmaster.

These men now want to start their own craft brewery in Warwick, New York, in a kind of farm-to-table concept, and have asked me to lend my expertise. Warwick is a well-known tourist town approximately 90 minutes outside of New York City, on the northern border of New Jersey and New York State.

Craft brewing is the fastest growing segment of the beer industry. Over the last 5 years in the US, it’s almost tripled from approximately 1,200 craft brewers to 3,400.

The Beer Boys want to create an amazing product while generating multiple streams of revenue. They plan to:

  • Brew several types of beer, including red ales, IPAs, and pilsners. As an interesting fact, the most difficult beer to brew is the lightest.
  • Have a restaurant/beer garden, with a big enough space to have events and concerts.
  • Grow their own hops.
  • Have a store that sells souvenirs, knick knacks, and DIY home brewing kits.

Creating a craft brewery facility requires a unique real estate asset; this team started working with a local broker and shortly after, they acquired a 15-acre piece of property. Just before finalizing the purchase, they contacted me to assist with developing a strategic plan and updated project timeline with the goal in mind to raise additional capital for this new development. The acreage happens to be in a historic area with “black dirt” that is incredibly rich and has, over time, produced some of the best hops in the country.

These guys are really passionate about this venture, which makes it a fun project for me, because I have a chance to help bring their vision to life. Ultimately, it’s about helping put all the pieces together:

  • Developing a site plan – which architects and engineers will they need to hire?
  • What is the process to get approved zoning?
  • Are there any economic development opportunities? New York State has a program called “START-UP NY” that they may be able to access.
  • Is there a tie-in to a local university, to give them credits towards educational components?
  • How will they manage distribution – will they deliver, or hire a firm to handle on their behalf?
  • As they grow, will they need separate warehouses?
  • Will they eventually partner with a bigger company?
  • Where are their competitors located?
  • How many storage tanks will they need for the beer to sit and age until it’s ready to be distributed?

This was The Beer Boys’ vision – what is yours? I always say: The things you dream up in the middle of the night, I help bring into the light of day! Contact me at to see how I can help you give life to your vision!

Curtis C. Battles