If you’ve ever gone on a craft brewery tour, chances are you didn’t spend much time in the lab—if the brewery had an in-house lab at all. The quality control department is usually the smallest and least exciting part of a brewery for beer drinkers—and due to the high costs of staff and lab equipment, sometimes it’s non-existent.
But one local company is doing something to help. Brewery Finance founder, home brewer, and craft beer enthusiast Rick Wehner recently launched the Better Beer Now initiative to assist breweries of all sizes get the equipment they need to make better beer. (His Colorado-based company, Brewery Finance, is the first equipment company to cater solely to the craft beer industry; think fermentation tanks, canning equipment, keg fillers, and quality control equipment such as microscopes and pH meters.)
The Better Beer Now program finances quality control equipment at a lower cost than the company’s other financing payment options. Initially, Wehner only made the program available to clients in Brewery Finance’s portfolio. But after noticing a trend of small breweries having difficulty getting off the ground—or even closing down altogether—he realized that the initiative could be a helpful asset to the industry as a whole.
“As we developed it, it became really clear that this in an opportunity for us to support the entire industry,” Wehner says. “This is our chance to do our part to support the Brewers Association’s call for better beer and give small breweries access to equipment that otherwise they may just cut out of the budget.”
Through Better Beer Now, Wehner offers breweries with qualifying credit and six months of business under their belt an affordable payment system for equipment. The first six months costs just $99 per month, followed by monthly payments based on the total cost of the equipment.
“The idea is that the barrier to entry is really low, so it’s not going to hurt [a brewery’s] cash flow,” Wehner says, emphasizing how important it is for small breweries to focus on quality control. “The cost of recalling or dumping one batch of beer can put a small brewer in a financial hole that could be devastating.”
Since launching the initiative in early February, Wehner has already received multiple calls from breweries nationwide looking to take advantage of the program. We’ll take that as a sign that better beer is in all of our futures.