Strategic Planning Your Brewery – When Opening

As more brewery’s popup, the harder it becomes to enter the craft beer market, making strategic planning your brewery, key to a successful launch and long-term success.

At a distance I’ve seen many breweries come and go in my career. People who’ve thought “build it, and they will come” Only to be shut within a year. Please note: this is part one in our planning series.

Craft beer drinkers around the globe, are becoming more knowledgeable day-by-day. They’re more discerning and just brewing and pouring simply won’t cut it.

Strategic Planning Your Brewery

What’s Strategic Planning?

Documenting and establishing a direction for your brewery. Assessing both where you want to be on opening, and where you want to be in the future is proper strategic thinking.

The plan you create puts on record your mission, visions and values, as well as long terms goals including the action plan to reach them.

Taking the time to put together a well written strategic plan will play a pivotal role in your brewery’s growth and success. Why? Because it tells you and your team how best to respond to challenges and opportunities.

As craft brewery owner, you should be looking ahead, considering the entire scope of your brewery. You need to analyze the current market you plan to enter, with a view to setting realistic targets and objectives. It’ll allow you to create formal plan with achievable end goals.

Benefit of Strategic Planning

Putting a proper plan in place takes time but, is well worth the effort…

It’ll bring your team closer together with shared knowledge. Furthermore, providing a path for everyone to take, giving the brewery greater probability of success. It’ll ultimately make the team more productive too. With clear strategies to follow.

Communicating the Strategic Plan of Your Brewery

When putting your plan together you need to involve your future team where possible. Your team will be involved in the day-to-day running of the brewery, their input and understanding are vital.

The team can share their previous experiences or skillset (there’s a reason you’ve chosen them for your future team) of what they think will work and what they’ve seen in the past be unsuccessful.

Strategic Planning Your Brewery Groups

It’s also advisable to look beyond your team to people outside for opinions too. You can reach out to prospective raw material suppliers. Asking how they see the current craft beer market for example.

Go around different breweries and bars…

Spending the evening watching people’s drinking/eating habits and interactions with differing establishments. It’s an easy way to get an insight to your local customer base.

Strategic planning your brewery should involve flexibility, with all discussions encouraging new ideas and thoughts.

Being Productive From the Get Go

Involving your future team in strategic planning, will make them feel accountable. Plus, help increase morale and productivity when the brewery opens.

Whether the team contributed in the process or were informed later about the brewery goals/objectives after the strategic plan was created, they’ll be more likely be motivated to help the brewery reach those targets.

Locking in the Direction of the Brewery and Nurturing a Proactive Business

When the strategic plan is in place, it affords you and your team a clear direction of the where you see the brewery in the future. You’ll have the tools to put the brewery in the best position to succeed going forward.

Over time all breweries face challenges as well as see opportunities present themselves. A proper plan will see you deal with each circumstance accordingly.

Thinking about what challenges or issues the brewery could face in 4 or 5 years. Then planning accordingly will make sure the business doesn’t stumble down the road.

Strategic Planning Misconceptions

When it comes to putting your strategic plan together there are some considerations:

  • Make sure you set aside enough time
  • Think about the small things, not just the benefits of increasing the business
  • Don’t worry about putting the brewery on a wrong path

There exists a various reason why people are wary about strategic planning. However don’t be alarmed the exercise will help your business (big or small).

Strategic Planning Your Brewery Meeting

How to Ensure You’re on the Right Path

It doesn’t matter the size of your brewery, the first steps of strategic planning your brewery aren’t based on assumptions. Instead, they’re based on research and information gathered. While talking to your team or people outside of the proposed brewery.

When you begin the process, it can seem daunting at first. However, when you understand the time and investment you give, will be paid back. With the team having proper understanding of the processes involved. To achieve goals and the objectives laid out, it’ll be worthwhile.

The process doesn’t have to forgo creativity either. You open the floor and let everyone contribute ideas to the plan. You involve everyone in the process.

The plan is also a living document, it’ll will organically change over time. There will always be circumstance and events which were unforeseen when it was first created. I think covid-19 showed that!

Reviewing plus evaluating the plan regularly keeps everyone accountable. As well as on track to reach the goals/objectives set out.

This is the first part in our strategic planning your brewery. The second part will be out soon. Where we’ll look at the process of putting your plan together.

Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at
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