You’ve got the killer suds – now you just need a warehouse for your brewery. Get the inside scoop on what it takes to make your brewery dreams a reality.
With over 100 breweries in Montana, we rank second in the nation for breweries per capita. It might seem like starting a brewery is a home-run business, right? You get to think about and enjoy beer – as a job. But buying a building for a brewery – how does that work? One of the most important things to consider is the building you choose and the right facility for a retail brewery can be a bit of a unicorn. You’ll need the perfect mix of industrial and retail space.
For most breweries, we see demand for high ceilings to accommodate production equipment, loading docks for distribution, adequate drainage, and a welcoming front of house. Basically, you need an aesthetic warehouse for your brewery. On top of that, the building needs to be zoned for commercial manufacturing – which can mean you’re not near walkable shopping areas.
Maximizing occupancy in the brewery is key, especially with the early closing time for these establishments. You’ll need enough parking and a large enough space to comfortably accommodate guests.
So what makes for a great brewery location?
Let’s take a look at Bozeman Brewing Company. They straddle a very industrial area – right next door is a lumber yard. And, while the tasting room upfront might be a little tight, spillover patio seating helps open up some space. In Missoula, the original Kettlehouse location just off Missoula’s Hip Strip is a great example. Parking is a little tight, but the Kettlehouse is near the downtown area. They also expanded their front of house to accommodate more patrons – but it was a tight squeeze in there for a while.
What else do you need to consider in a brewery space? We encourage potential buyers to consider how many bathrooms they need to add to get up to code, as well as HVAC and fire suppression system requirements. Even if you get a great deal on the real estate, it can end up pretty pricey once you retrofit an industrial space for retail operations.
Now for the really important question – what’s your favorite Montana beer? Let us know your favorites and we’ll report back with our highly scientific findings on who has the best beer in Montana. Thanks for watching.
Contact Claire Matten if you’re ready to look for your unicorn space.