OK. Don’t panic. I’m not quitting my job. I mean, for crying out loud, I’m a vertebrate paleontologist! I’m not gonna just quit that!
But I do have other interests, other passions.
And I do have visions of one day retiring, and by retirement, I mean being able to do that which I want to do without having to worry about grant funding and the other hoops associated with regular full-time employment.
If I’m going to take risks, I’m going to ride waves of my own choice, not the whims of people and organizations who have to support my salary.
I do love brewing beer. Why brewing?
Because getting together for drinks is an important way in which people socialize and communicate. Beer is a favorite globally, it’s low(-ish) alcohol, comes in a wide variety of flavors, has a rich history, and is, as alcoholic beverages go, relatively good for you. It lets people relax and actually talk to each other, which is something we need more of. Geoscientists figured this out ages ago. It’s about time everyone else did.
Oddly, as much as I love brewing beer, I don’t drink a lot. I mean, I probably average a beer a day, but I can live without it. I love making it and, more importantly, sharing it. My ability to share is limited however, by the constraints of storing bottles, and bottles, and kegs in my own home.
Thus, it seems like a good idea to look into opening a brewery. We’ve got the property. We’ve got time to plan (since neither my husband nor I plan to leave our jobs or retire any time soon). We’ve got a name, and a rough concept.
Now it’s time to learn.
Over the course of the next year, I’ll be part of The University of Vermont’s Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate Program. It’s a 12 to 24 week online program that will teach me how to run a brewery. Not how to brew beer, but the business end of things. The legal issues. Taxes. Supply and demand.
I can come up with the recipes, but I wouldn’t know how to run a business.
And while $4000+ is a lot of money for tuition, it’s still cheaper than starting a business that fails or that you hate.
Starting a brewery is part of my husband’s and my ’10 year plan.’ In ten years, we’d like to have the infrastructure for the brewery in place, and everything running at low volume, so that if we chose to, we could ramp it up and retire as business owners.
Ten years is a long time. Plans can change. For now, we’re learning as much as possible about potential futures, so that we’re not caught unprepared.
Wish us luck!