Planning for Brewery Success in the New Year

Even as you’re wrapping up 2019 at your craft brewery, you should be planning for 2020. What are some of the top issues for you to consider as you work to set your New Year up for brewery success?

Staffing

Are you planning to ramp up with staff in the brewery, tasting room, or office? A growing staff means a growing business—and growing insurance costs, too. When it comes to your workers compensation insurance, it’s particularly important that you classify each employee correctly:

Brewery staff: 2121

Restaurant/ tasting room staff: 9079

Clerical staff: 8810

And remember, clerical staff should be dedicated clerical staff—not brewery staff that occasionally do some data entry.

Give careful thought to your employee and contractor workers. In California, for instance, new legislation has made it very difficult for companies to treat workers as independent contractors.

Safety

While we’re on the subject of your workers: how can you improve the measures you have in place to keep them safe?

Now’s a great time to develop a calendar for trainings, “toolbox talks,” and updating your safety policies and procedures to catch up with any changes you’ve made in practice. Employee injury is bad for your business, bad for employee morale, and definitely bad for your workers’ comp premium.

Marketing

Particularly when a craft brewery is new and somewhat understaffed, it can be difficult to take advantage of every opportunity that comes by. What could help you grab those opportunities in the New Year? Planning for them now!

Have you dreamed of brewing a collaboration beer? Reach out to potential brewing partners and schedule a timeline to get the job done.

Have you been lax in celebrating American Craft Beer Week, or taking advantage of big marketing opportunities like Cinco de Mayo or Black Friday? Start thinking of new brews, new promotions, and new approaches now. Plan backwards, so that you’re sure you have enough time to get everything done for the big day.

Is improved sustainability high on your brewery’s wish list? Check in with some of your colleagues to see what steps they have taken. Take a few hours to quietly inspect your operation and consider where you could reduce or improve resource use. Try a team-building exercise with your staff, and brainstorm creative ideas to reduce or re-use waste.

Make some decisions about which projects you’d like to undertaken first, and plan a timeline for each one.

Review Your Insurance Package

Give your brewery insurance agent a call and make an appointment to review your coverage. A great agent will have great ideas about where and how you can trim costs—without reducing your coverage.

Insurance is an investment that pays off in a big way when a batch of beer is spoiled; when your fermenter breaks down and production grinds to a halt; or when a customer files suit because he had a car crash six hours after leaving your brewery.

Not every insurance agent has the brewery industry expertise to know which coverages are most important—and which coverage limits are appropriate. You’ll want to check that your spoilage and contamination protection gives you the selling price of the beer you can’t pour—not just the price of the ingredients used for that batch; coverage for the extra expense when one of your suppliers can’t make deliveries; coverage for expenses incurred if you must recall one of your beers from the market; and in-transit protection if you deliver your product yourself. Click for more points you’ll want to consider.

There’s that old saying that “failure to plan is planning to fail.” By the same token, succeeding in making solid plans means planning to succeed! Take advantage of these last few weeks of the year to set your brewery up for success in 2020.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.

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