Want to open a craft brewery? Having a good beer is not enough to get a loan | Local company


Start-up costs for a brewery can range from hefty six figures to several million dollars. Larger production facilities or historic rehabilitations can often force costs to skyrocket into the tens of millions of dollars.

Without strong relationships or deep pockets, starting a brewery can be nearly impossible.

Hille said he had been working on his plan for three years with varying degrees of success when he teamed up with Green Street, the St. Louis development company that built the Grove Brewery of the Urban Chestnut Brewing. Co., a $ 10 million renovation of the former Renard Paper factory at 4465 Manchester Avenue.

“It put us on the brink because no one wanted to take the risk with us when we were entrepreneurs for the first time,” Hille said. “We had a lot of experience in brewing, but it didn’t really resonate as well with bankers who were more concerned about the overall measurable risk.”

Other young breweries, like the Narrow Gauge Brewing Company in Florissant, operate in small spaces to begin with. Narrow Gauge co-founder Jeff Hardesty brews in the basement of Italian restaurant Cugino’s, which is owned by his friend.

Hardesty has succeeded in making New England IPAs, a smoother, smoother variety of an India Pale Ale that is not readily available elsewhere in the St. Louis market. This accolade helped the brewery grow – Narrow Gauge brewed 738 barrels in 2017, a massive increase from the 200 barrels it produced in the first year. This year it is on track to brew over 1,300 barrels thanks to a recent expansion of its brewhouse.

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