We’ve all heard it before “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” And yes, in many circumstances that idiom applies, especially when starting a brewery for the first time. Most breweries open with a straightforward approach: raise money, buy equipment, hire personnel, open a taproom, distribute the leftover beer and bask in the glory of their success. With equipment months away from arriving and a taproom even further from completion, we’re taking a leap of faith, winging it, and trying our hardest to do things a smidge differently.

According to the old brewer’s adage, distributing beer in a profitable manner outside of your taproom requires the use of a 15 barrel (or larger) brewhouse. Anything smaller limits profits handicaps growth and is more like chasing your tail than creating a profitable business.

Well, we are testing that assumption.

With a 1 BBL brewhouse, nestled neatly in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we have begun cranking out recipes for self-distribution. Yes, our beer is in restaurants and bars right now (look for beers at West End Tap & Kitchen or East End Gastropub (opened last night), The Food Lounge and the Picnic Basket).

If having such a small system for distribution isn’t profitable then why do it?

Five Reasons to be Dumb & Distribute from a 1 Barrel System:

  1. Recognition in the local market — it’s important for customers to see our name alongside large-scale breweries.
  2. Test assumptions — maybe what we like, is not what the customer wants?
  3. Create relationships with retailers — need we explain why this is important?
  4. Access new customers — according to Facebook, only 1,000 people have heard of Humble Sea. There’s plenty of room for improvement.
  5. Make money (someday)

When sifting for start-up inspiration, it’s easy to feel infinitesimal when thousands of breweries appear to be doing it bigger, faster and with more money. However, we’re attempting to disregard feelings of self-doubt and working towards establishing 10 reoccurring Santa Cruz accounts. Interested in having our beer on tap? Email us at beer@humblsea.com

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