10 Things to Know Before Selling Your Brewery

February 12th, 2024 • by Nate Collins
Nate Collins

Nate Collins

Nate Collins is a Financial Advisor on the Scharf & Selden Wealth Management team at Raymond James. He has been involved in the New York craft beer industry since 1989 and is a co-producer of the Tap New York Craft Beer and Music Festival.

Selling a craft brewery is a nuanced process, blending financial acumen with an understanding of the craft beer industry’s unique landscape. Whether you’re considering selling now or in the future, preparation and knowledge are key. In the HOW TO SELL YOUR BREWERY webinar financial professionals shared best practices to consider when selling a brewery.

Webinar Panelists:

Andy Stockett: Managing Director of Four Bridges Capital Advisors, brings a wealth of experience in private equity and M&A. Stockett served as CFO of Big River Grill and Brewing Works in Chattanooga, which eventually acquired the Gordon Biersch Brewery restaurant assets. The company grew to 33 locations nationwide, and over $90 million in revenues.

Robert Gorin: Managing Director at Getzler Henrich & Associates, specializes in corporate turnarounds and operational optimization for middle-market companies.

Andrew Finkel: Partner at Marcum LLP, an expert in tax planning and compliance, leveraging his role to guide middle-market businesses through financial aspects of transactions.

10 Crucial Considerations (distilled from the webinar):

  1. Understand the Buyer Universe: Recognize who might be interested in purchasing your brewery. This varies widely depending on your brewery’s size, location, and market position. Buyers could range from large private equity firms to individual investors looking for entry into the craft beer market.
  2. Preparation is Key: Start preparing years in advance. This includes optimizing your brewery’s operations, improving margins, and ensuring your financial records are meticulous.
  3. Craft a Compelling Story: Buyers are interested in your past performance, but they’re investing in future potential. Make sure you can articulate a vision for growth that’s both achievable and compelling.
  4. Consider Different Sale Structures: From controlling stakes to full buyouts, the structure of the sale can significantly impact both the outcome and future involvement in the brewery. Understand the implications of each.
  5. Develop an Exit Plan: Having a clear strategy for exiting your business is crucial. This plan should be revisited regularly as market conditions and personal circumstances change.
  6. Keep Your Books in Order: Transparent, well-organized financial records are crucial for a successful sale. They provide potential buyers with the confidence they need in the health of your business.
  7. Clean Up Your Operations: A tidy operation extends beyond your financial books. Ensure your physical space is organized and appealing, and that your business operations are running smoothly.
  8. Engage Your Team Wisely: Determine which employees need to be in the loop and how to incentivize them during the transition. Missteps here can lead to unnecessary turbulence.
  9. Seek Professional Advice Early: Whether it’s financial advisors, accountants, or legal counsel, getting experts involved early can streamline the sale process and potentially add value to the deal.
  10. Manage Your Emotions: Selling a brewery you’ve poured your heart into is an emotional journey. Strive to approach the sale with a business-minded perspective to avoid personal biases impacting negotiations.

Selling a brewery is as much about timing and preparation as it is about finding the right buyer who shares your vision for the future. By starting early and paying attention to these key areas, you can navigate the complexities of the sale process and achieve an outcome that meets both your financial and personal goals.

Remember, the craft beer industry is not just about the product; it’s about the community and the legacy you leave behind. Make your exit as impactful as your entrance.


The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Nate Collins and panelists and not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of the panelists mentioned.