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Old 30-11-2019, 20:28   #1
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Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Hello fellow Cruisers!

I'm fixing to get myself a boat this spring. I live in Washington state and am researching and learning about a new life, blue water exploration!

I am a brewery owner and came here to ask all of the community a few questions.

I'll just start with my idea. A 1bbl brewery on a sailboat. Pull into a nice port with a fresh IPA on draft and ready to serve. Have all the fellow patrons over or deliver growlers or kegs by skiff. I can only imagine there is many rules per country and possibly not many open water. Please don't attack me or such, I'm really just trying to understand if this is viable or just a pipe dream.

With all of your expertise as a community, I figure I could ask the questions here.

Can it work? Laws by country? Easy to obtain permits? Keep it as a homebrewer and a donation based system?

I'm just here to share my love, passion and expertise making great beer. I was just in Indonesia for 3 weeks and only wish I could have found more than Bintang.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response!

Regards, O
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Old 30-11-2019, 20:35   #2
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Does beer ferment normally when being tossed around constantly?
Are you building a custom boat so the beer sits below the waterline?
I suppose if you had a large enough boat, and dedicated part of it for beer, you could make it work, or not.
Maybe start out with a week long trip trying to make a small batch and see if it works?
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Old 30-11-2019, 20:41   #3
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

That's my big question. Not sure how a sloshing fermentation session would be. I'm sure I can figure that out as an engineer. And I'm definitely going to follow up with any other brewers that might have an idea. Or set up a swaying table in my garage and try it out.

I have no boat at this time, I think just using a berth for it might suffice with a bit of customization. Not sure until I find the right boat. Main point is to cruise, but i thought it'd be exciting to share my beer with everyone on the water!
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Old 30-11-2019, 20:49   #4
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

The first problem, there are as many different laws, rules, permits and licenses as there are different countries. Every place you go you will have to deal with whatever the local laws say. Since many countries, like the US, generate significant income from alcohol taxes you will have a lot of red tape to deal with. Add to that, third world bureaucracies move very, very slowly. By the time you get a license (if you ever do) you would probably be broke.

After you deal with that then you will have to deal with work permits in the country. The guy that owns the local bar might not look too kindly on an interloper without a green card coming in to take his business. Since his cousin is the local police chief and his brother-in-law is the local judge you can be quite certain that the rulings will go in his favor.
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Old 30-11-2019, 21:24   #5
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

I can't remember how long a typical micro brew cycle is, 3 weeks? Definitely the movement would be a challenge - you could in theory maybe grab a marina in different locales for a month, brew a few batches, then go gunkholing offering your already brewed beer in exchange for boat gas or sailboat repairs?
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Old 30-11-2019, 21:56   #6
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

We've brewed aboard for personal consumption. If in the tropics you'll need a good warm weather yeast to get reasonable results. In NZ we bought prehopped liquid malt extract beer making kits at the Grocery store. Cost less than $20 usd to make 6 gallons of ale. We've always brewed in a location that was calm, had access to plenty of freshwater, and where we would stay put for a few weeks. I also carry aboard champagne yeast to make ciders and gingerbeer.
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Old 30-11-2019, 22:45   #7
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Just google liquor licence Australia to see how many hoops you have to jump through. I doubt any bay that has a bar is going to let some boat bum with a floating bar sell liquor to the locals without a permit.
I may be old fashioned but I think Boats and booze don't really mix and delivering kegs or growlers by a skiff really sounds a recipe for disaster.
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Old 30-11-2019, 23:00   #8
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Maybe do a more focused approach, pick a few strategic locations you might like to visit, and setup breweries there, following local laws, then use your sailboat to travel in between, eventually you could have a world network and be on the water most of the time.
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Old 01-12-2019, 00:25   #9
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

We've done a couple batches on the boat but always when mostly at dockside.

Wort doesn't like to be shaken up. Also you are likely to have cloudy beer as it takes time for the yeast to settle to the bottom, so you would need a filtration system.

Real issue is the licensing. Home brew in the USA (and some other countries) doesn't require a license. One you have anything remotely looking like a business (ie: the officials likely won't buy that donations are voluntary), there are rules and regulations. To meet those, it really takes time and effort.

Keep in mind also, as a product intended for ingestion, you need to also meet food safety rules if done on a commercial basis. Go check out a brewery some time and see all the stainless steel and cleaning...heck even for home brewing, getting decent quality is mostly a matter of cleanliness.

If you start talking multiple countries, now you added business and work visas into the mix...a large percentage of countries, you aren't even allowed to work unless you qualify for and receive a work visa. Set up a business, there may also be business licensing.

If you want to share a 6 pack when you visit someone for dinner, not likely to be a problem...running around delivering kegs, expect someone to put a stop to it real quick.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:27   #10
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Thank you all for the responses. I kind of figured the laws and regs to be a thing at each place. I 100% agree alcohol and operating any machinery is bad. Also, I know about the challenges of cleaning and stainless steel, as a brewery founder and owner, I'm up to date on what it takes to make beer for commercial imbibing.

Again, thanks for the responses. Pretty much sums up my thoughts too. Never hurts to ask! See you out there soon, sans beer.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:00   #11
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazySafe View Post
Thank you all for the responses. I kind of figured the laws and regs to be a thing at each place. I 100% agree alcohol and operating any machinery is bad. Also, I know about the challenges of cleaning and stainless steel, as a brewery founder and owner, I'm up to date on what it takes to make beer for commercial imbibing.

Again, thanks for the responses. Pretty much sums up my thoughts too. Never hurts to ask! See you out there soon, sans beer.
I don't know I'd give up so fast. Obviously doing this while cruising through multiple countries isn't going to work. But it may well be a very good business idea for your home country. At least in the U.S. microbrewing has really stopped being differentiated by the brewing which has really become commoditized. We've reached the point where it's relatively trivial to make good beer in small batches with a variety of flavor and alcohol profiles. As a result, it's become almost entirely a marketing game. And brewing on (and possibly selling from) a boat is potential marketing gold.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:36   #12
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

Perhaps you could help locals establish craft breweries in the places you visit. I've seen a few sprout up in some of the more touristy haunts in the W Caribe in recent years.
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Old 01-12-2019, 22:04   #13
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Re: Possibly Impossible? Worth a shot?

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We've reached the point where it's relatively trivial to make good beer in small batches with a variety of flavor and alcohol profiles. As a result, it's become almost entirely a marketing game.
This I will definitely agree with. Had some really bad microbrews in recent years but the places are packed and it seems to mostly be about marketing and being trendy.

If you were going to be stationary in a port for 6-12 months, might be worth the hassle. Of course unless you have a massive boat, doing enough to make even a few hundred a month will be tough.
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