A brewery’s success comes down to many factors, but the main ones are passion and quality. Keeping passionate about brewing (or finding a passionate brewer), using good methods and record keeping, sourcing fresh ingredients, and maintaining good sanitation are all key to producing great beer. And being open to what customers want is just as important. If someone wants a peanut butter stout, go with it (even if you think it sounds anathema).
Beer crafting is one of the oldest human arts and a highly complex one at that. It involves manipulating four simple ingredients to create styles that originated around the world. From dark to light, hazy to clear, and even some with added flavors like fruit, coffee or chocolate. It is an art that requires tremendous skill to produce consistently.
Brewing is also a good economic boost for communities. Most craft breweries are locally owned and operated. Employees spend their wages in the town they live in, and their kids go to local schools. As a result, breweries are a big reason why many towns are now hip and cool places to live.
If you are interested in getting into brewing, there are lots of resources out there to help. The American Homebrewer’s Association has a free brewing guide that will get you started. But if you are looking for something more comprehensive, I recommend John Palmer’s “How to Brew.” The book is available in paperback and hardcover and can be purchased at Amazon or other online retailers.