Many homebrewers aspire to be probrewers but it can be difficult to find out what's required. This thread hopefully will answers all those questions. So if you have some useful information please tack it on here.
Hopefully we'll cover NI as well as RoI, and when it's done we will price and detail what is required to set up a 6 barrel brewery.
This will eventually be a wiki article.Equipment
Q. Where can I buy new brewery plant?
A. PBC Brewery Installations
have been very popular with Irish micros, e.g. Bo Bristle and Dungarvan. But there are other sources.
Q. Where can I buy a second hand brewery?
A. Not so easy to come across, it's really a case of keeping an ear to the ground, but with so many new microbreweries opening their doors 2nd hand equipment isn't plentiful.
Q. Can I make my own plant?
A. Yes, it's probably the cheapest way to get established. Ex-dairy tanks need to be modified, but they are plentiful and turn up on sites like Donedeal
. Whitewater have made a lot of their own equipment.
Q. What other equipment will I need?
A. You need to decide if you are bottling or kegging.
Q. That all sounds very expensive, and for something I won't be using every day of the week would it not be better to rent space on someone else's brewery?
A. Initially for small scale production the costs don't seem to justify buying your own kit.Legal/Regulatory
Q. I've heard I need to have a €100,000 bond for the Revenue to get started?
A. There is no lump sum to the Revenue required. You can take out a policy similar to an insurance policy with your bank to cover the bond. The cost varies but €25 a month is not unrealistic.
Q. What is the "bond" anyway?
A. A bonded warehouse is a building or other secured area in which dutiable goods may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty. Your brewery will need to be classified as a bonded warehouse with the Revenue. They will want to see plans of the building you are intending on using, as well as any information pertaining to the security of that building as they tend to want a fairly secure site, although anecdotally this seems to vary depending on the Revenue official you are dealing with.
Q. What is the purpose of the bond.
A. It's a guarantee to the Revenue that they will get their dues in the event that the business can't pay, e.g. in the case of financial troubles, theft, fire, etc.
Q. So when is the duty payable?
A. No duty is payable as long as your beer remains within a bonded warehouse but as soon as it leaves the warehouse duty is payable to the Revenue. Duty has to be paid by the 25th of the month.
Q. What duty is payable?
A. The stronger the beer the more duty it incurs. Currently the rate is €0.1987 per litre per degree of alcohol.
Q. Can you explain that?
A. A beer of 4.2% abv is 4.2 degrees. So one litre will incur 4.2 x €0.1987, or €0.83454 in duty.
In pint terms it incurs €0.83454 x 0.568 = €0.474
Q. I heard about a duty rebate for micro brewers. What is that?
A. Those producing less than 20,000hL (i.e. 2,000,000 litres) of beer a year qualify for a 50% rebate on excise duty. This effectively means the duty on a 4.2% abv pint becomes €0.237.
Q. When is the duty rebate paid?
A. You must claim it back. Claims are to be made in respect of payments of Alcohol Products Tax made within a period of 3 calendar months, beginning on the first day of January, April, July, or October as appropriate. i.e. you claim back the previous 3 months.
Q. Does that not affect cash flow?
A. Yes. Good for the Revenue, but not good for the brewer.
Q. What else do I need from the Revenue?
A. You need a manufacturer's licence
, which must be renewed annually at a cost of €500. There are no particular stipulations for this other than a Tax Clearance Cert and proof that you are in business, i.e. a Certificate of Incorporation (when setting up a Limited company) or proof of a Registered Business Name (sole trader or partnership), both of which would have been received from the CRO at the time of registration.