Yeah, we get that question a few times a week, it seems. For those of you who don't already know, there are quite a few hoops to jump through in order to bring craft beer to the marketplace. Today, we'll chat a moment about the biggest...navigating the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).
Long story short - there are two major absolutes you need to possess before you can brew & sell beer on premises:
- Federal Brewer's Permit
- State Brewing License
Care to take a guess as to which one is easier to obtain? With a brewery opening up every day, on average, in the US, there's a ton of demand of the TTB...and as one might expect, not as much supply for a quick turnaround. In our research over the past three years, we've heard a range of wonderful experiences to absolute nightmares in dealing with the TTB. With us finally getting started in our application, that research weighs heavily on our minds.
Way back when, when we were in the process of developing our business model (2011-2012), we were told that the lead time for Federal approval to brew & sell beer was, at a minimum, 200 days. #WOWZERS That's a ton of waiting time and capital to burn through when you're ready to open your doors. Imagine that a brewery in-planning is so eager to get open that they put everything in place just to be told that they've gotta wait more than half a year for approval? Uggh. As such, we planned on opening a taproom with a state of Florida vending license for beer & wine, just so we could generate some revenue while we waited on our licensing.
Now, the process has streamlined a tad more and the TTB "claim" that the average wait time between when you submit your application and when/if you receive approval is 65 days. That's much more feasible. Previously, you also had to have already purchased or planned on purchasing your brewing equipment before submitting your application. Not any more, thankfully. Now that we've got a basic floorplan drawn out for GrassLands' brewing operations, we're ready to get started. It's such a big to-do that it almost makes you not want to even go through with it...kinda like a business plan; right, all my fellow entrepreneurs?
Needless to say, if we're planning on opening our doors in September along with the potential of brewing & serving our own beer, then we need to get going sooner rather than later with this dang application, don't you think? It ain't no thing...just add it to the ever growing plate of responsibilities we've got!
But honestly, as looming a prospect of multiple hours & days that need to be spent working on applying to the TTB, it is yet another milestone on this awesome journey we've had so far! We're excited about each & every step we're taking - as terrifying as some of them might be :D
With that, we'll leave you to it for now. Have an exceptionally awesome weekend, my dear readers, because you most definitely deserve it! Awesome news to kick off next week!