Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brewing Beer In Mexico 2013

So, where was I?
Oh yeah, I'm heading back to San Miguel on Monday and with the help of friend and fellow homebrewer/business partner Francisco, I have managed to relocate most of my brewing equipment for use this year. Naturally some of the larger equipment I'll get manufactured locally but the hard to get parts like plate chillers, food grade tubing, high temperature pumps and such I've packed to bring with me. Most of this has fit into two large 70 lbs. suitcases. This is the beginning of a project that hopefully will develop into a means of earning a living so that I can stay longer this time around.

I feel as empty as a stripped keezer
I'm experiencing a certain amount of kegerator separation anxiety as I dismantle the well worn keezer. Stripping off some of the parts I may need in Mexico and arranging for a friend to utilize the rest while I'm gone. As I pack my bags I keep going back and forth in my mind about what this year's journey will look like. Since I didn't reach my Kickstarter money goal to start the Beer School I'm working with a very limited amount of funds which makes every purchasing decision critical. I'm also conflicted about choosing the best course of action. I want to continue trying to realize the idea of the Beer School and I also want to produce beer for sale. I'm struggling to prioritize these options in order to focus my direction, whether it be towards the school, a brewery or both simultaneously.
I did come up with a list of tasks to move me further along in the process and all of the tasks are essential for both projects but the emphasis is on brewing beer for sale.

1. Lease space
2. Set up brewery (purchase additional equipment)
3. Homebrew some beer to dial in the system using grain purchased from retail source
4. Create brewery name and logo and develop website and copyright name and logo
5. Brew, bottle and label sample beers while continuing to use grain purchased from retail source
6. Apply for my FM3
7. Apply for beer school bus. lic. (beer school is not necessarily located at brewery)
8. Establish account with wholesale ingredient supplier using beer school lic.
9. Purchase initial ingredients
10. Apply for Mfg. and retail sales lic. for 6% or less beer
11. Create space at brewery or rent space for direct sales to the public
11. Establish local accounts and help set up draft systems
12. Apply for over 6% beer lic.

All that remains

Kegs say good bye

In the mean time I've used Google's awesome language tool to translate all of the Beer School teaching material to Spanish and after glancing over the results I can see I'll be spending a bit of time correcting grammar errors and a lot of the math that got scrambled in the transition. But, over-all I've saved myself a huge amount of time if I tried to do this translation by hand.

As I consider my future in Mexico I experience a multitude of mixed feelings. Excited at the possibility of succeeding at creating a new life doing what I love to do in a place that I've come to think of as a second home. Energized by the thought of re-connecting with the local homebrewers and being involved in developing a larger and more active brewing community. At the same time I feel uncertain about the steps I'll need to take to make my vision a reality and compounding that, the fear of complete failure that taps endlessly in the back of my mine like some kind of Chinese water torture. Cautious and fearless equals crazy.

I plan to post updates as I go along about how I'll make this happen and give some insight into what goes into making a beer school and/or a nano-brewery a success (or failure) in San Miguel. Also, I'm open to and would appreciate any suggestions, information or experiences by those in Mexico who've gone down this path before. Cheers and we'll see you South of the border. Salud!

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