Setting Up Your Brewery for Success in the New Year

Even as you’re wrapping up 2021 at your craft brewery, you should be planning for 2022. What are some of the top issues for you to consider as you work to set your New Year up for brewery success?


Are you planning to ramp up with staff in the brewery, tasting room, or office? A growing staff means a growing business—and growing insurance costs, too.

“When it comes to your workers compensation insurance, it’s particularly important that you classify each employee correctly,” points out Kristian Beall, AAI, of Beall Brewery Insurance. “Misclassification can lead to a host of problems—and penalties and fines.”

The categories you’re most likely to need are:

  • Brewery staff: 2121
  • Restaurant/ tasting room staff: 9079
  • Clerical staff: 8810

And remember, clerical staff should be dedicated clerical staff—not brewery staff that occasionally do some data entry.

Give careful thought to your employee and contractor workers. In California, for instance, legislation has made it very difficult for companies to treat workers as independent contractors.

“If you have questions about how to categorize your employees, or how to set up your workers’ compensation insurance, it’s important to consult with your brewery insurance agent,” says Richard Beall, principal of Beall Brewery Insurance, which serves craft breweries across the country. “The right advice now can save you a lot of time, trouble, and money down the road.”


While we’re on the subject of your workers: how can you improve the measures you have in place to keep them safe?

Now’s a great time to develop a 2022 calendar for trainings and “toolbox talks,” and for updating your safety policies and procedures to catch up with any changes you’ve made in practice. Employee injury is bad for your business, bad for employee morale, and definitely bad for your workers’ comp premium.

“It’s important to consider what types of incidents your brewery is vulnerable to,” adds Kristian Beall. “Whether your area of the country is at risk of hurricane or earthquake, or you are concerned about wildfire or flood, it’s important to create an emergency plan so your team knows what to do if disaster strikes—and to make sure you have emergency supplies on hand, and everyone knows where they are and how to use them.”  

Review Your Insurance Package

Give your brewery insurance agent a call and make an appointment to review your coverage. A great agent will have great ideas about where and how you can trim costs—without reducing your coverage.

Insurance is an investment that pays off in a big way when a batch of beer is spoiled; when your fermenter breaks down and production grinds to a halt; or when a customer files suit because he had a car crash six hours after leaving your brewery.

Not every insurance agent has the brewery industry expertise to know which coverages are most important—and which coverage limits are appropriate. You’ll want to check that your spoilage and contamination protection gives you the selling price of the beer you can’t pour—not just the price of the ingredients used for that batch; coverage for the extra expense when one of your suppliers can’t make deliveries; coverage for expenses incurred if you must recall one of your beers from the market; and in-transit protection if you deliver your product yourself.

There’s that old saying that “failure to plan is planning to fail.” By the same token, succeeding in making solid plans means planning to succeed! Take advantage of these last few weeks of the year to set your brewery up for success in the coming year.

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