I expanded our little brewery recently, trebling available capacity. You may have heard me mention it. Along the way it became obvious that one question pervades amongst a reasonable portion of the population I come across: why expand? On occasion I became slightly uncomfortable fielding questions along the lines of 'how's world domination coming along?' and the like. It got me thinking, and I've been meaning to do that thinking out loud for a while now.
So, why expand a small brewery? (I didn't know any of this when I started brewing).
Firstly, some context: we had a teeny, tiny, mini capacity before, and now we have a small one. We were probably about 650th of 700, now we might be up to 350th. We were, and still are, far smaller than most think. Just so you know.
Anyway, reasons to grow:
1. Technical - the bigger the vessels, the more justification there is for adding bells and whistles. Now B & W's of themselves are (normally) a useless waste of money, but well designed ones, ones the brewer wants and can use, are a real boon. Yes, I can make a decent batch of beer in a bucket but doing it day in, day out is more difficult. So there's a natural desire for a brewer to want to grow, simply to get better spec toys to play with to brew better spec beer, more often.
2. Fear - if there is demand, and if you don't meet that demand, someone else will. And then they'll come after the rest of your business. There appears to be no plateau - just a slope, and most of us don't want to slide down, so we crawl up. Not a pretty picture. But if you get in a stride it's serene and almost beautiful.
3. Fun - gotta keep life interesting. It's taken too many years to gain a root hold in this rocky ground not to make the most of it.
4. Duty - with a family to provide for, and mates needing work, given the opportunity to grow and create a more secure future for those around you, it would be churlish to wimp out.
5. Cold, hard cash - I'll settle for a salary and a pension, thanks.
In summary: one never finishes building a brewery, there's always something to work on, to improve. Without that mentality you aren't leaving the starting blocks. So, given that, the path ahead is set and if you find yourself in the right place, at the right time, you too will be expanding capacity (and plotting to rule the world).
I hope that clears that up. Now, when I am in charge, tangerine will become, by decree, the colour of choice.