How to Open a Brewery, Distillery, or Winery

How to Open a Brewery, Distillery, or Winery

Call Alcohol Industry Advisors for Assistance with Pre-Opening Legal Matters

Opening an alcohol manufacturing company isn’t a fast or simple process—it takes months to go through all of the legal requirements, and all the while you’ll have to collect things, complete disclosures, and finish a number of other tasks. All of this is done to obtain the proper permits needed to finally open your doors, and with simple mistakes causing delays that can take weeks or months to resolve, you can hardly afford to do something wrong. That’s why so many clients from all around the country have turned to Alcohol Industry Advisors for reputable advice and guidance with the process of opening their doors.

Schedule a consultation with our team today! Dial (208) 295-5809 to make your appointment or request more information about how we can help you.

Obtaining a Permit

In order to open your doors, you’ll have to receive a specialized permit from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or the TTF. For breweries, this is known as a Brewer’s Notice, for wineries it’s a winery permit, and for distilleries it’s a distilled spirits plant permit (DSP).

Here is a list of steps you will likely have to follow in some regard in order to obtain this permit and permission to open your business.

Decide Who is Applying for the Permit

Sole proprietors, partnerships, or legal entities such as LLCs or corporations can apply for a permit from the TTF. This means you’ll want to form a business entity at the very start of your journey to opening your brewery. Talk with our team and we’ll help you choose the right entity and complete the necessary paperwork to form your business.

Get an Employer Identification Number

Once you have a business entity, you can then get an employer identification number (EIN) for that entity. This nine-digit number is used by the IRS to identify your business, and is mandatory for all businesses, regardless of whether or not they actually hire anybody for outside help. We strongly recommend that you form a relationship with a CPA early on, but you can also get an EIN yourself.

Name Your Business

Your business name and your common name shouldn’t be the same. That way you can easily open different branches or sister businesses and still keep them all under the same entity without having to incorporate an entirely new one every single time. For example, your business name will typically be something like “Doe Beverages, LLC,” and under that umbrella you might operate “Jack’s Spirits,” “Jane’s Winery,” and “Jill’s Brewhouse.”

Need help with the permit application process? Contact Alcohol Industry Advisors and we’ll make sure your application stays on track!

Register Your Trademarks

Trademarks are the most important intellectual property your business will own, especially in the rapidly growing and crowded beverage industry. Working with an attorney can help you not only register and protect your trademarks, but can also help you ensure that your trademarks don’t accidentally infringe on anyone else’s. That way you avoid a costly and time-consuming mistake.

Select a Location

For most beverage businesses, you’ll need a physical location. That may mean you need to lease space from someone or purchase a property. Whatever you do, you’ll need copies of your paperwork saying you have the right to conduct your business in your space, and you’ll have to submit them to the TTF in order to apply for your operating permit.

Secure Funding

Do you have investors who have given you the capital in exchange for equity? Have you taken out a loan from the bank? If you have any outstanding financial interests in your business beyond yourself, you’ll need to disclose them. Get copies of this paperwork for every investor or loan you have and submit them with your application.

Create Your Formulas and Plant Layout Diagram

Most types of manufacturing businesses will need to submit a detailed diagram of the interior of their plant, including any tasting areas (taverns), brewing spaces, major brewing equipment used, and more. This is important because all types of breweries have distinct regulations on what can be in a beverage plant, where it can be within that plant, and special considerations that need to be made.

Select Your Major Pieces of Equipment

Your major equipment must also be disclosed when applying for your permit. This means working with your manufacturer to get exactly what you need in terms of model numbers, serial numbers, capacities, materials used, and more. Good manufacturers will know this and be happy to work with you to get you the information you need to apply.

Apply for Your Permit

Once all of this is done, then you’re finally ready to apply for your permit. Once your permit process is completed, you’re free to apply for state and local beverage permits, including any permits needed to manufacture, bottle, or serve your product on your property.

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