Brewery Expansion Insights: Steam Bell Beer Works

Brewery Expansion Insights: Steam Bell Beer Works

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Brewery Expansion Considerations

Brad Cooper, founder and head brewer of Steam Bell Beer Works and Canon & Draw Brewing Company; Dave Michelow, president and co-founder of The Veil Brewing Co.; and Patrick Murtaugh, co-founder and brew-master of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, shared their unique insights on craft brewery expansion considerations during Keiter’s Fall EmergingRVA event. The panelists discussed financing, branding, and hurdles they have faced in expanding their tasting rooms and manufacturing facilities.

In this article, we feature highlights of comments from our panelist, Brad Cooper. A Chesterfield County native, Brad was determined to bring exceptional beer and a warm, welcoming destination to his hometown. And so he did. With Steam Bell’s success and several beer varieties in strong demand, Brad moved toward expansion. He recently opened a second brewery, Canon & Draw in Richmond’s Historic Fan District. Now, Brad is setting his sights on locations outside of Virginia.

Q: On the subject of branding, can you share your insights on deciding to brand your second location under a different name?

A:I grew up in CBrewery Expansion Considerations - Virginia CPAhesterfield County, which is a very suburban community. It isn’t known to have a lot of good entertainment options. In opening Steam Bell, I wanted to provide excellent craft beer options as well as a venue that was fun and family friendly. Steam Bell offers entertainment options that appeal to the residents of Chesterfield.

In adding another location in the Fan, I really looked at what appeals to residents in that area. The Steam Bell model was not going to be a good fit for the residents in the Fan. The craft beer options and venue for the new location were going to be totally different so it made sense to give the second brewery a separate brand. Canon & Draw Brewing Company’s beer and space are an eclectic mix of modern and traditional styles that mirror the feel of the neighborhood.

In opening additional locations, the neighborhood will continue to determine our brand approach.”

Q: Discuss your financial considerations and the process you have taken to acquire capital for expansion of new locations and/or your product line.

A: “Brewing beer had been a part-time passion for years. After a bittersweet departure from my full-time job in the mining industry, I was able to focus full-time on developing a solid business plan and perfecting my recipes with the goal of opening my own brewery. My main source for funding Steam Bell was private equity from family friends, who were familiar with my product. When the time was right to expand, I was able to acquire additional funding from my original investors.”

Read more craft brewery insights from our other panelists, The Veil Brewing Co., and Hardywood Park. Questions on expansion considerations for your business? Contact our Emerging and Growth Business team. We can help. Email | Call: 804.747.0000

Keiter is focused on supporting emerging businesses and their owners to successfully manage and grow their businesses.  Interested in joining us for future EmergingRVA educational and networking events? Contact us. 804.747.0000

Learn about other emerging and growth business considerations:


The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


About the Author

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

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