Brewery owners come up with names for their businesses in a variety of ways. For Darrel Brown it was happening upon an old photo of his dad dressed in “’80’s cool guy attire”—a tight t-shirt, trucker cap and corduroy short shorts with Aviator sunglasses and a cop mustache (to be fair, pops was a rookie cop when that pic was snapped). Finding the humor in that image, Brown’s dad said he should go undercover as “Lance Savagewood.” As soon as he heard it, Brown, a homebrewer since 2014, knew his someday fermentation operation would go by that fictitious surname. So far, that’s the most concrete part of Savagewood Brewing, but if all goes as planned, many other aspects of the business will be chiseled into certainties in the next few months.
Brown has set his sights on the north-inland San Diego community of Rancho Bernardo. He sees it as an underserved area with demographics that align with his company’s goals. Currently, the neighborhood is home to a single brewery, Abnormal Beer Company, which is located inside The Cork and Craft restaurant (which also houses a winery), and Second Chance Beer Company resides in bordering Carmel Mountain Ranch to the south, but there is certainly room for more homegrown beer in RB. Brown hopes to sign on a spot and begin construction of a brewery and family-friendly tasting room by fall. His current project team consists of CLTVT, Hauck Architecture and The Craft Beer Attorney (which last week joined forces with San Diego-based law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP).
Early on, Brown will be responsible for brewing and business operations. He has a good deal of experience with the latter. He is currently a vice president of operations for a large data and technology company and has run his own businesses in the past. Once open, he plans on hiring an assistant brewer to help produce a line of beers that, like the company’s name, is already carved in…wood? They include WhIPA it Good white India pale ale (IPA), $500 Millionaire session IPA, Poppa’s Amber Ale, Sugar Daddy’s Brown Ale, Sunshine Tax West Coast pale ale, Orphic black IPA, Big Fat Dad wee heavy and Exquisite Blonde, a blonde ale that has won awards on the homebrew competition circuit and will be offered with various fruit additions.
Brown intends to start out with a 10-barrel brewhouse and aim for production of 2,000 barrels of beer annually, with its best-selling beers being packaged in cans and bottle releases of specialty or seasonal offerings. But the main focus will be at Savagewood’s taproom, which he hopes becomes an enjoyable neighborhood hangout. Distribution of packaged beer will be limited to accounts located in or near Savagewood’s home base.
Candace Moon proudly describes herself as an “anti-lawyer lawyer”…which probably explains why she’s loved and respected by so many, who’d otherwise be leery of the woman who officially goes by The Craft Beer Attorney. Well, that and the fact she’s helped so many aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the choppy seas of brewery start-up. Those waters are particularly treacherous in the heavily regulated state of California, making her a valued, speed-dialable ally to the majority of San Diego County’s brewery owners. To further assist those looking to enter the brew biz, Moon recently completed a book titled Brew Law 101: A Legal Guide to Opening a Brewery—California Edition. We subpoenaed the newly minted author, getting her out of her office long enough to tell us what her tome has to offer. She was even kind enough to gift us with a sample chapter (see below).
What inspired you to add published author to your résumé?
I found myself saying the same thing over and over again, especially to prospective clients. It occurred to me that if I wrote it all down, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself so much. It seemed like lot of people needed info and there is currently no one place to get all of it. Brew Law 101 provides that kind of resource, and is for anyone who seriously wants to open a brewery. It’s legal-intensive, and has 99% of the law one would need to know to get their business open.
What are some of the pertinent topics covered in the book?
There’s entity selection information about how to choose your business entity; whether to form your company as a corporation, an LLC, etc.. It covers why you want to select a particular business entity. There are also chapters on trademarks. licensing with the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) and the TTB (U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau), employment law and contracts—how to read them and the typical types of contracts an entrepreneur will encounter. And between chapters, we’ve included “from the trenches” stories from various California brewers about their experiences, including AleSmith Brewing Co.’s Peter Zien and Tomme Arthur from Port Brewing Co. / The Lost Abbey / The Hop Concept. (Click on the link at the bottom of this article to preview both of their stories) And there’s an entire page listing gems from brewers who were asked what they’d tell someone if they had only one piece of advice to give.
Can owners of breweries that are already open benefit from the book as well?
A lot of the information is useful like ABC licensing and basic compliance. And there’s a lot in the book that may pertain to things that a brewery owner might not have done 100% correctly the first time, so that gives them an opportunity to correct past mistakes. But this is primarily for people opening breweries. That said, the idea of Brew Law 201 is floating around, too.
Why did the timing seem right for a book like this?
The industry is exploding. So many new people are coming in who have little to no experience in the beer industry or running a business. The more people who can get set up correctly and do things legally, the better for the businesses and the industry in general. The bigger the brewing industry gets the more attention it will get, good and bad. There are lots of attorneys looking to take advantage of companies they think have lots of money. They think there’s lots of cash flow in craft beer, so you’ll have lawyers taking advantage of that. They’ll see a disgruntled former employee then, suddenly, a brewery has an attorney trying to make money by suing the brewery that employed them. The more we keep people buttoned up and protected, the better the chances that they don’t get exploited.
Do you foresee updates to this book?
There will definitely be updates. Not necessarily publishing updates but there will be a website where updates will be posted since laws change frequently. We’ll post any changes to the law that’s covered in the book on the website. Editions of Beer Law 101 written for Colorado and Arizona are coming as well. I may also partner with attorneys in other regions to work on books for other states.
Check out the from the trenches stories from Peter Zien and Tomme Arthur, provided as a special preview from Beer Law 101 by author Candace Moon. And as if that wasn’t enough, she’s even lent us a sample chapter on selecting a location for prospective brewery owners to peruse.