Critical Mass?

Yesterday at a meeting of the minds an idea was struck upon that I’d like some imput with. A local Salem man has been encouraged to open a brewery/public house of sorts and I was asked what I thought, and what cost/process would be involved. Seriously, you’ld be surprised the questions your asked when you write a beer blog. Everything from what beer should I pair this with to well…. How do I go about opening a brewery. 

So, I’ve spent all day researching OLCC statutes and cost of even a small in house operation. Before I even get into the cost though I figure I’d toss it out there and see the reaction to the idea…. You know, for fun. Do you think Salem can handle a fourth brewer? This question is especially pertanent because it would be Salem’s first non chain public house in a long time.

Currently we have the Ram, part of the RAM chain. We also have Thompsons, part of the McMenamins chain. And lastly we have Pale Horse, a non chain brewery that only sells kegs and bottles, no on site consumption at a bar. Not to mention they only have 2 (soon to be 3) beers. This public house would not be affiliated with any chain, meaning that it would need a decent amount of traffic, which it already recieves. Also this location is fairly small. The non chain nature makes this a positive and a negative. Positive because it wont need to brew for multiple sites, negative because another site isnt brewing it’s beer.

So my questions are as follows

1 Is there room in Salem for another brewery?

2 What would you look for in the way of beers from a Salem brewery?

Im still going to research cost, and probably do a post on what it takes to open a brewery here, but in the meantime I’m just tossing out the questions. Also I know I’ve given very sketchy details. Maybe in the future if this idea moves beyond the “hey you might have somethin there phase” I’ll tell more.

4 Responses to “Critical Mass?”

  1. I think if you think small enough, there’s plenty of opportunity for breweries in Salem. Keep it local. Highlight local flavors and favorites. Play up our history. Don’t try to copy the chains or the big dogs in Portland or Eugene. I’d love to drink locally in Salem.

  2. Scott S says:

    Absolutely Salem not only could support such a venture, Salem needs it! The hard part is that it has to be in a good location, and I think that is hard to find in this town.

  3. Capital Taps says:

    Check out the mid 90s history of the Willamette Brew Pub. It was located at 120 Commercial NE, where Alessandro’s is today. While the market is much different today than it was 15 years ago, the reasons that venture failed might provide good data for a business plan today.

  4. jrbox says:

    I have imagined how nice it would be it there were a rooftop biergarten in / near central Salem overlook the Willamette River.

    The Spring 2009 edition of ‘BEER northwest’ has a four page feature titled: ‘No Guts, No Beer: The Secrets Behind Starting a Brewery’ by Matthew Pollock. Get back to me if you can not obtain a copy,

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