"Don't Quit Your Day Job" (Brewing as Hobby)
[Oh, my! I do hope I won't get too hooked to blogging! I'm scared!!! ;->]
Thinking about brewing, as I often do. Responding to a message about a post I sent to the HomeBrew Digest about beer and beliefs. In relation to my previous post on work and debt. And compartmentalization.
"Don't quit your day job" I have no intention of doing such a thing. I love my "day job" (insofar as I have one). I see no reason to quit it.
[Yup, blogging in my case encourages the use of first person singular pronouns, a habit I try to kill in many contexts. But if it's supposed to be self-indulgent, let's do it the self-serving way...]
Some homebrewers I've met hate their day job and see brewing as an escape. [It might be something of the same for me (doing a bit of self-analysis here) as I may use it to procrastinate. Although, brewing needs planning. Procrastination I mostly do with thinking about brewing. Anyhoo...] Those homebrewers who brew to "get away from it all" are oftentimes the same guys (yeah, mostly guys in homebrewing circles, nowadays) who want to "Go Pro" and open a brewpub. Now, that's not silly and it's kind of easy to expect, but it might be ill-advised. Going Pro means a huge investment on money. Of course, we all dream of having enough money to invest in brewing. Hey, if I win the lottery, I might go nuts with brewing gear and if I win enough, I might even give the brewpub idea more of a thought. But... Going Pro also means transforming a cool, relaxing hobby into an obligation to perform. Sure, many small brewpub and microbrewery owners do it their own way and the lottery win should imply that you don't need to turn a profit. But still, professional brewing is bound to be more of a pressure. And many aspects of brewing aren't necessarily so much fun. And these are the ones that become very important in the Pro world. Not to mention the whole business side. Some people enjoy it but these are few and far between.
A well-known homebrew celebrity (!) who became a brewpub owner is quoted as saying that if he were to start again, he might not go pro. Nowadays, he doesn't brew anymore. And even though his pub is often packed, he still struggles to make ends meet. Not a pleasant feeling.
Then, the ideal solution should be collaboration. One "business-type" to handle the business and one crazy brewer. Well, the crazy brewer won't be so crazy when the business guy talks about minimizing risk. A big important notion, risk. A hobby is fun because the stakes are low. You scrap a 5-gallon batch, so be it. You lost a bit of time, a bit of money. So be it. That's life. And you learned something. You scrap a batch as a commercial brewer, uh-oh! So that's one reason even the most adventurous brewers end up making a lot of fairly uncompromising beer. Another reason is that what pleases the brewer might attract a few beer geeks but the beer geek market is incredibly small as compared to the swill drinkers. Lots of talk about that. But brewing capacity (volume) is correlated against risk.