Thursday, June 3, 2010

Brewing & Beaurocracy

It is perhaps not the most amazing time in the economy to begin a new business, but people seem to be drinking beer fairly steadily, and the time is right to take the leap into founding an honest to god nanobrewery.

So as Johnny as been perfecting his Northern English Ale on the 10 gallon brew structure from More Beer, my job is to begin the journey through town and state bureaucracy, business plans, and lawyers as we get begin to go for it.

One of many first steps is sussing out a place to brew. Since (according to TTB) it is legal to brew 200 gallons as a homebrewer in a 2 person household, originally, we thought we'd try to do the start-up phase out of our garage, or out of Tom's garage where they currently brew in Morgan Hill. So I started with the Morgan Hill Planning Department. Since we already operate a home based consulting business, I am familiar with the Town of San Anselmo's home business regulations, which ended up being quite different.

Interesting civic planning lesson #1: Home business regulations are made at the city level.

On one hand this makes sense, but it's also bizarre. In San Anselmo, you can NOT use your garage but you CAN have 1 employee. So that's out. In Morgan Hill you CAN use your garage but you can NOT have anyone other than the owner at work. So that's out too. And to be quite honest, the deeper I get into the calculations it seems worth it to find our home in a local warehouse and go for it.

Next step.... Craigslist. and figuring out the clusterf*$! of ABC, TTB, BOE, EHS etc. to make sure anywhere we rent is actually an approvable brewing space. I might add "Bureaucratic Ninja" to my job title...

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