Launching Sapwood Cellars Brewery with Michael Tonsmeire – BeerSmith Podcast #191

by Brad Smith on April 29, 2019 · 0 comments

Michael Tonsmeire joins me to discuss his experience starting a new brewery called Sapwood Cellars.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:39)

  • This week my guest is Michael Tonsmeire. Michael is the author of the book American Sour Beers (Amazon affiliate link) and also partner in a new brewery called Sapwood Cellars in Columbia, Maryland.
  • Today he joins us to discuss some of the challenges and decisions to be made in opening a new brewery.
  • Michael gives us a quick overview of the size and scope of the brewery where he primarily sells out of the taproom.
  • We discuss his opening lineup of beers and how he decided which beers to brew.
  • Michael explains how his lineup has evolved over time and which beers are now the top cellers.
  • We talk about direct (taproom) sales versus distrubuting through other channels and also some models for growth.
  • Michael explains some of the challenges in marketing and driving traffic to a new brewery, including things like social media and promotions.
  • He shares some of the marketing and business lessons he learned.
  • We discuss how he raised funding for the new brewery and also some of the surprises he ran into along the way.
  • Michael explains the difference between brewing on a 10 barrel system and a 10 gallon brewing system
  • He shares his closing thoughts for those looking to open a small brewery.


Thanks to Michael Tonsmeire for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

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