‘If We Could Sell 30 Beers a Day’

country boy brewing

If they could sell 30 beers a day, they could live off tip money and keep the doors open. That was Daniel Harrison’s (DH) business plan for the taproom when Country Boy Brewing opened its doors in February 2012.

“We thought about everything in terms of that,” said DH, co-owner and general manager of Country Boy Brewing. “If we could sell 30 beers a day, that equates to 210 beers a week, that equates to X number of beers a month … we’ve got to brew this much to make that happen. That’s what we based everything off of.”

DH said that Country Boy was opened on a shoestring budget and they kept it that way doing a lot of the work themselves. However, over the past three years, Country Boy, through the graces of great beer, has ridden the craft train well past its initial business plan, and released plans this week to open a new 50bbl. brewery in Scott County, Kentucky.

“We’ve always been pretty pragmatic and good stewards of what we have,” explained DH. “But at the same time, how do we grow and do what we want to do to expand, but at the same time live within our means? We’d love to say that we had room here … the problem is we don’t have loading docks, the floor drains aren’t set up for this, this building is not set up to be a brewery. It’s hard to retrofit an old tobacco warehouse, which that’s what this is, into a state-of-the-art brewery, which is what we want.”

The partners considered making small steps to reach the next phase of the brewery, but what they all kept returning to was to build something within the company’s means that would get them to about a third step.

“I’m from Scott County,” said DH. “Lived in Georgetown for a long time in downtown. I know a lot of folks there, my dad was in business there for a long time. I love the community, it’s starving for something — Scott County, we claim the birthplace of bourbon, Elijah Craig invented bourbon there.”

But still, Scott County doesn’t have any alcohol producers in the county, especially breweries. DH is focused on changing that, but he wants to build more of an attraction to the brewery than just the beer itself.

While it will be outfitted as a 50bbl. brewhouse, it will also have hiking trails, gardens and potentially even an outdoor amphitheater, along with the musthave taproom.

“The business park out by Toyota [Manufacturing Plant], is a booming part of town that’s in city limits,” said DH. “We pulled the trigger on six acres out there, which is more than we need, but the land we can get at a good deal and we don’t just want to put a box on a stand and that be it. We talked to the city and they’re going to let us go forward with nature trails, gardens, hop trellises. Something that’s a whole experience going to the brewery.”

The space would be a 20,000 sq. ft. building that would include a 50bbl. brewhouse, which would allow the brewery to reach between 75,000 and 100,000 barrels a year. According to DH, he doesn’t conceive the possibility of them ever having to grow again.

At Country Boy’s Chair Ave. location it is currently brewing on a liquid asset system, between a 10-12bbl. It has zero automation, and it’s what they’ve had since they first opened. “We have a ton of different size vessels coming off that one brewhouse, that’s why we’re running at  gangbusters,” said DH. “It’s a good ole system, probably from the early 80s, somewhere in there, 100 percent manually actuated. It’s 100 percent hands on, which we think is great for our brewers and our brand, but of course we’d love to have a little automation here and there to save our backs, but it really lets you touch your beer — you really understand what you’re doing as opposed to just pushing buttons.”

According to DH, the Scott County brewery will be set to open towards the fall of 2016, if everything goes as planned. So, what started as a goal of 30 beers a day has swiftly moved on and garnered the need for a much greater plan.

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