The Brewlog: Regulator Brewing Company Blog

News, etc. from Regulator Brewing Company. Updated sporadically.

Posts marked ‘Month: July 2015

Got to be NC!

Regulator is proud to be one of the latest members of Got to be NC, a program run by the NC Department of Agriculture.  We join ranks with almost 3,000 other members in the state, which means you can look for this logo on our labels!

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It is part of our mission to produce locally sourced – not just locally bottled – beer.  For us that means we commit to buying at least 75 percent of the ingredients in each batch of beer from local farmers and maltsters.  We are excited to provide you with Beer from Here. Each time you crack one open, you support North Carolina farmers with us!

Want to know more about how Regulator does business?  Check out our mission, vision and values here.

What’s a nanobrewery?

Regulator Brewing Company is a nanobrewery — a term we realize may not be familiar to everyone.  At its core, it just means we’re really, really tiny. You’re probably familiar with “microbreweries,” and if you believe it, there’s such a thing as a “picobrewery.”* A “nanobrewery” falls somewhere in between, determined by both system size and production quantity.

System Size

Let’s start with the size of the system that we use to brew beer.  Our system allows us to brew one barrel of beer at a time. That’s equivalent to two kegs of finished product (i.e., the amount one might buy for a wedding reception).  For the sake of comparison, let’s look at the size of our system next to that of some other breweries you might be familiar with:

1http://www.highlandbrewing.com/about-us/history
2http://www.aviatorbrew.com/brewery
3http://www.duckrabbitbrewery.com/our-brewery
4http://homebrew.mysterybrewing.com/

 

Production Quantity

The next factor that influences our designation as a nanobrewery is how much beer we expect to produce in a given year.

We plan to run our system roughly once per week; barring holidays or unforseen circumstances, we’d produce 56 barrels per year.  Let’s take a look at that comparison graph again in terms of production:

Annual Production Graph

1http://www.highlandbrewing.com/about-us/history
2http://beerpulse.com/2013/11/aviator-brewing-to-double-production-in-2014-1941/
3http://www.greenvillemixer.com/mixer/duck-rabbit-makes-twc-arena-debut-2234807
4http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/02/23/carolina-brewery-20th-anniversary-chapel-hill-nc.html

 

So we’ve probably convinced you that our system is tiny, and and now you might be wondering: “why?” Our brewery is a size that we feel we can manage well with an eye toward focusing our distribution on the Hillsborough community, using as many locally-produced ingredients as possible, and–last but certainly not least–keeping our day jobs!  We love the idea of Regulator Brewing Company growing into a larger facility in the future, but that’s a long way off. For now, in the words of Goldilocks,  this is “juuuuuust right.”

*Still curious about what a “picobrewery” looks like? You could put one on your kitchen counter.

Starting a Brewery? Tips for the TTB Application

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The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade (TTB) application is one of the most daunting challenges to opening a brewery.  It’s exceedingly thorough and comes before any of the other state or local applications.  The approval process often takes more than 4 months.

Thanks in large part to the help of other brewers who were willing to share their experience, we were lucky to have our application approved in 22 days. In the spirit of those who shared with us, we’d like to offer a few tips to help other new brewers navigate this challenging process.

Kickstarter
One of the most tedious parts of the TTB application is the “Sources of Funds” documentation, where you must account for every cent of startup capital. If anyone who has contributed money is not an owner, the TTB requires a letter from that person stating that they have no ownership interest in the company.

This really freaked us out–we were dreading the logistical nightmare of getting individual letters from our 150+ Kickstarter backers.* We wrote Kickstarter and asked if they could provide us one letter explicitly stating that no ownership transfer was tied to the deposit we received from Kickstarter.** Kickstarter did, and the TTB accepted their letter.

Open a bank account ASAP
If your brewery does not have an established bank account with 6 months of records, each owner will have to supply, at a minimum, 5 months of personal financial records. Being able to simply send brewery financial statements streamlined the process and made it a lot less personally intrusive.

Answer every question
There will be some questions seemingly intended for big breweries (power generation,  waste water, etc.).  Answer them anyway. For the power generation question we put something simple, along the lines of: “All power will be purchased from our local power utility and delivered through the existing power grid.”

Err on the side of too much detail
With the TTB, “more” seems to be “more.” We described the building in extensive detail, including every aspect of the brewery’s construction, down to drywall thickness. Make sure your floor plan shows where every single part of the brewery will be located–including windows, sinks, and floor drains.

 

Finally, be prepared for everything to go well! We have no idea how the process will go for you, but make a contingency plan in case the process goes faster than expected. We tied our project schedule to a longer approval process; as it turned out, we could have significantly shortened our timeline.

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*Can we say thank you, again?  Yes. Thank you, again.

**Kickstarter actually has a policy that states “project creators keep 100% ownership of their work, and Kickstarter cannot be used to offer equity, financial returns, or to solicit loans.”  We quoted this back to them when we asked for a letter!

 

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Hillsborough, North Carolina
regulatorbrewing@gmail.com
(919) 589-BREW