So, you’ve been creating your own spirits for a while now, and you think they’re pretty good. You enjoy coming up with tasty new gin recipes, and you’ve started to think that you might like to turn your hobby into a business. What do you do next?
Here are some tips to turn your dream of running a craft distillery into a reality:
Treat it Like a Business
If you’re serious about running a business, you have to prepare yourself to work hard. If your business skills aren’t up to scratch, work on them before you start looking for loans and working on recipes. After all, being a distiller is about more than creating good drinks – it’s also about raising money, marketing, accounting and a whole host of other entrepreneurial skills that you won’t succeed without. It won’t be easy, but if you work hard, it is possible to make a success of your craft distillery business.
Once you’re committed and you have the skills you need to succeed, it’s time to do your research. No, I don’t mean sampling as many fine gins and whiskeys as possible, I mean reading up on the history of distilling, how it’s made, what makes one gin taste better than another and what kind of drinks are popular in the current market. If you do this, you are much more likely to be inspired and to create drinks that will sell.
Come up with a USP
If you want to give your distilling business the best chance of success, you need to come up with a unique selling point, but it has to be something that will resonate with buyers and make them want to try your goods – it can’t just be a cheesy gimmick. For example, one company has seen a lot of success by creating Unicorn Tears Gin, which contains flecks of gold. It’s a cute product that makes a great gift, and they’ve seen a lot of success as a result.
Obviously, more important than just about anything else is the alcohol itself, which means that you need to start trying out and creating as many great new recipes as you can. In the early stages, you’ll have a lot of failures, but if you refuse to give up and you keep experimenting with new ingredients and techniques, eventually, you will hit upon one or more drinks that are truly outstanding and which will enable you to sell your creations for a fair price.
Now that you’ve worked out your USP and you think you have a great product on your hands, it’s time to start looking at your finances. If you want to launch a successful distillery, chances are you’ll need to get a loan from the bank or another source, so drawing up a good business plan and working out how best to sell yourself and your product is vital.
If you don’t have any luck at the bank, don’t worry because things like peer to peer lending and crowdfunding sites, see here for more information, are also options, and could actually be better for you in terms of exposure to your brand and lower startup costs.
Check the Regulations
When you’re producing alcohol, there are obviously a number of rules and regulations that need to be adhered to and licenses that need to be granted. These will vary depending on where your business is based, but you will almost always need to take out surety, which you can find more information on here. It’s important that you are able to meet the regulation requirements because they have been put in place to ensure the safety of all parties involved, especially the consumers who will be purchasing your goods, and they will ensure that your business does not get a bad reputation at best, or sued at worst.
Expect the Unexpected
Even if you’ve done everything right and you think that your business is going to be a big success, you need to prepare yourself for setbacks. Virtually no new distillery has stayed on budget in their first 12 months, and few businesses of any kind find that their products are getting the kind of demand they’ve planned for in the early stages. Not only that, but equipment will break, staff will quit, and you’ll have moments when you feel like throwing in the towel and going back to your day job. If you expect these things to happen, they won’t knock you down quite as much as a problem from the blue, so prepare for success, but equally, prepare yourself for problems and never give up.