How Much Do Breweries Make: Realistic Profit Margins

Marketing 18 minute read 17th July 2023

Every successful business starts with a calculation of realistic profit margins. So the fact that you are questioning ‘how much do breweries make’ is extremely important. Breweries take lots of operating expenses and upfront investment (for things like equipment and initial materials).

However, once you establish your brewery, you can make an excellent profit margin. Many breweries even report gross profit margins of up to 92%. Wow, right?

Of course, being realistic is critical here. Not every brewery will see such spectacular profits. And this guide will give you the lowdown on how much profit you can expect. As well as how to boost your average profit margin - why settle for less than your business deserves?

The brewery industry, especially the craft beer industry, is rocketing. So jump on the movement with this realistic insight into how much you can make from a brewery.

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How Much Do Breweries Make: An Average US Profit Margin

How much do breweries make in the US? Well, the average profit margins can be upwards of 40%. And that’s before you even factor in extra revenue streams like guided tours and tasting sessions. Toast compares brewery revenue potential in the US to the existing restaurant revenue averages. It writes:

‘The average revenue of restaurants, nationally, is between $250,000 and $500,000. However, the revenue potential of breweries is much higher. The profit margin on beers and ales is typically around 45%, while restaurant profit margins range from 3% to 15%’.

Aside from the profit you collect from alcohol sales, you also have other brewery strategies. For instance, you might run a gastro brewery - a common venue type in the US. A gastro brewery offers dining with a high focus on food quality and a brewery and beer.

Alternatively, you may turn your brewery into a museum or attraction, with certain sections hosting exhibits and tours. The world really is your oyster when it comes to US breweries. And there’s a significant place on the market for brewery tourist experiences. Either of these two extra revenue streams could triple your profit margins - so get creative when running your brewery.

The average US brewery has a startup, licensing, staffing, and contingency funds to factor in. However, the overall profit margin is much higher than other hospitality businesses like restaurants. And with many breweries, the process uses such effective automation that you barely require staffing.

As such, it is one of the most profitable industries to invest in. And if you are opening a brewery in the US, congratulations on taking steps towards such a fabulous business venture.

How Much Profit per Barrel of Beer in the US?

The question of how much do breweries make is massively dictated by profit per barrel. Generally, the profit margin on bottled beer is 75%, and draft beer is 80%. If you sell a barrel of draft beer, you can expect to get prices of around $400-700.

Of course, this depends on your brand reputation and beer quality. With profit margins of 80% for beer on draught, it’s easy to see how you can make great profits per barrel.

How Much Do Breweries Make After Operating Costs, and How To Reduce Extra Costs

Operating costs do eat into your profit - there’s no secret there. However, operating costs tend to be pretty low for breweries, which helps to keep profits high. For a large brewery, operating costs could account for up to 30% of gross profit.

While for a smaller, more independent brewery could be as little as 10% of profit lost to operating costs. For one, breweries require a lot less staffing than restaurants or cafes. This means less spending on hiring staff members and paying for hours and hours of shifts.

How much do breweries make massively depends on your business decisions. For instance, if you purchase good quality equipment, it should last a cost-effective period. Brewery equipment is long-lasting, unlike in restaurants (seemingly with a never-ending cycle of broken plates and lost cutlery).

Ways to reduce your overhead long-term include purchasing your brewery building instead of renting. With owned property, you could lease certain parts of it – perhaps renting storage spaces – to earn extra money. It reduces rent costs and gives your business capital.

You should also register as a business immediately to enjoy trade discounts on materials, including chemicals, uniforms, and materials. You can save loads with trade discounts and reduce those pesky extra costs.

How Much Do Brewery Owners Make?

When you ask how much do breweries make, the question of how much do brewery owners make is important too. Brewery owners can easily earn $40,000 + a year from a brewing business. And that’s just for a small brewery. You can quickly be raking in figures well over $1,000,000 with a larger brewery.

Running a brewery is much like training for a marathon - the more you put in, the better you perform. So if you want to strike gold, focus on effective business growth, strategic customer engagement, and maximizing your profit.

Remember, as a brewery owner, you’ll have overhead costs and setup costs. Overhead costs include things like licenses, staffing costs, and equipment repairs. If you don’t own your brewery building, this can also include mortgage repayments or rent. And with so much expensive equipment, you’ll also want to fork out high-quality insurance.

Regarding setup costs, these could range from around $15,000 to over six figures. Your setup costs will depend on the brewery you are opening (large-scale, nano, or microbrewery). The larger the brewery, the more money you’ll need for equipment and a larger building and storage space.

In short, brewery owners can make a very healthy profit from their brewing business. However, it requires excellent money management skills, and hiring an accountant might be a good idea. There’s just so much to consider and keep tabs on that outsourcing your finances makes life much easier. With a handle on expenditure, though, the sky is your limit regarding profit as a brewery owner.

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How Much Does a Microbrewery Make?

We know how much the average brewery makes, but let’s niche the question of ‘how much do breweries make’ down. We already know that the brewery type massively impacts profit and overhead costs. So, how much does a microbrewery make?

To quickly recap what a microbrewery is, think of an edgy independent venue. There is some range when it comes to the amounts of barrels that a microbrewery produces. A microbrewery can produce anything from 1,000 to 15,000 barrels a year.

However, as a whole, microbreweries target a smaller demographic on a more local scale - usually regional. Microbreweries tend to focus on connection rather than mass supply. And because of this, microbreweries are very successful touring and tasting venues.

Because of their smaller output, microbreweries demand as little as $50,000 in upfront setup costs. In contrast, some large-scale breweries require $1,000,000 + to set up. You’ll need fewer machines, which requires less supervision, fewer maintenance costs, and fewer insurance policies.

So, with all these things in mind, a microbrewery is very profitable, despite its smaller size. Operating expenses are comparatively low. And even though they produce fewer barrels, there’s lots of potential for touring and tasting ticket sales.

A successful microbrewery can quickly profit from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 in the right business hands. It all comes down to your creativity and establishing multiple streams of income.

How Much Do Breweries Make From Brewery Tours, and Should You Offer Them?

So far, we’ve mentioned brewery tours and tasting experiences many times. It is definitely time that we took a closer look at this strategy. How much do breweries make from brewery tours and tastings? And exactly why should you bother with them?

Let’s establish what these two services are. A brewery tour is a guided experience where visitors learn more about your brewery. It is an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience - perfect for the curious visitor and a great money-maker through ticket sales.

You get immediate profit from ticket prices, with only a tour guide to funding as a staff member. This tour guide takes the visitors through the brewery, explaining the process and answering questions. The visitors learn something and get some cool pictures, and you get a profit - win, win.

Another benefit of a brewery tour is that you can use rapport to help with sales. After letting tour members sample some of your beer, you can lead them to a store at the end. Present them with a discount and watch them crumble in your hands. For the visitors, there’s less risk in buying a drink since they already know they love it.

With a tasting experience, this is also the case. A tasting experience involves visitors paying a fee to sample a beer flight. A tasting event is memorable marketing for visitors and draws in crowds. For a date night or social event with friends, a tasting experience is perfect.

Again, you can offer discounts at the end of the experience to sell your products. But also, if your brewery provides food, you can easily target beer tasters with food menus for extra profit.

These strategies are uncapped in earning potential and, as you can see, open some serious profit-boosting doors.

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How Much Do Breweries Make: Is The Brewery Industry Profitable in 2023 and Beyond

The brewery industry is definitely going to remain profitable. When you wonder how much do breweries make, it is wise to also ask, ‘And how long will that last?’.

But the good news is that breweries seem to be lucking out. 2023 has been a brilliant year for breweries, with no dip in that average profit margin of 45% on alcohol. Brewery profit margin trends remain positive. And moving forward, the beer market future looks bright for those investing in brewery businesses.

A great thing about breweries is that they are heavily versatile. Breweries are necessary for any alcohol retailers - restaurants or bottle shops. They also meet ongoing and ever-changing consumer needs.

For instance, carbon-neutral beer meets the demand and trend for environmentally-friendly goods. And nano breweries and microbreweries meet the trend of investing in small, independent businesses.

Breweries also appeal to multiple customer demographics. You appeal to retailers, providing products for resale and letting them price alcohol accordingly. You appeal to drinkers, who can purchase from you directly - skipping the third-party resale.

But similarly, you can also appeal to tourists and visitors. For instance, offering brewery tours or tasting events.

Because of how versatile breweries are and how many demographics they appeal to, they will be around for the long haul. In 2023, of the 9,247 craft breweries in the US, there was a total turnover of $26.8 billion. In this same statistic by Sharp Sheets, this broke down to an average annual turnover per brewery of $3,000,000. Staggering.

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What Is a Realistic Idea of How Much Do Breweries Make?

Gauging a realistic answer to how much do breweries make isn’t hard with your current information. As you can see, breweries can be really profitable. Of course, your actual profit varies depending on what type of brewery you run.

Because of scale, a successful large-scale brewery will always bring in more profit than a nano brewery. However, breweries have a super high profit margin - averaging at 45% profit margin just on the alcohol itself. It’s no wonder that some people make a 92% gross profit with brewery businesses. And with all this information under your belt, you can be making huge profits too.

Our advice? Get researching how to set up a brewery. Breweries are a fantastic business venture, whatever scale you decide to operate. If you invest in a brewery and do your research, you can comfortably make a great return.

But we know that you aren’t just asking yourself how much do breweries make. Do you want extra assistance with your brewery or help investing in different marketing forms? That’s where we come in.

At Beambox, we are always excited and happy to assist you with jump-starting your business. As experts in WiFi marketing, breweries, and social media marketing, we can help you in your journey to business success.

Beambox offers the best all-in-one WiFi marketing platform. We utilize a multi-strategy approach to connect, attract, and keep customers. Start your Beambox free trial today, and let us help you maximize your social media and brewery potential.

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