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The Niche Market of Nano Breweries and Nano Businesses

By Jenna Sedmak - September 29, 2014


Craft beer and micro-brews have been popular for quite a few years now, but the rise in their sales has been huge. In comparison to the bigger corporate beer companies, craft beer sales have been taking in a bigger share of the pie here in Canada. Stats Canada writes:

'While competition among brands for market share is high, some nationally-brewed beers have seen a decline in sales while there has been an increase in local or regional favourites. This trend has been seen in the past as well, since many popular national brands evolved from local popularity.'

With people on the search for a good tasting, high quality, but low cost beer, this has created a huge market and demand for craft beer. While many micro-breweries have seen a great success, they have also had to share their piece of the pie with another type of craft breweries: Nano-breweries.

Nano-breweries are smaller scale craft breweries who cater to very localized areas. They brew beer in very small batches, and often have a limited quantity of each brew. A good quality nano-brewery with the right marketing can sell out of their beer within a day. While some nano breweries eventually up-size and become micro-breweries, many stay small as it keeps costs a lot lower.

This model of business is not unique to the craft brewing industry. Nano businesses are popping up in may industries all over the globe. According to stats Canada, there are around 1.4 million small businesses in Canada. Most of these businesses are owned by the baby boomer generation. Unfortunately, a large number of these businesses are not successful. The term 'nano gap' refers to the shortage of capital/funds to go between all of the small businesses. 

When starting a small business, or reformatting a strategic plan, it is important to recognize the fierce competition that exists in the marketplace. But, with the right niche for your product and good branding and marketing techniques, each small or 'nano' business has the chance to thrive.

With this in mind, a nano-brewery can be a profitable small business. Craft beer is actively sought after in cities like Vancouver, and sales have been on the rise since 2000. While bigger wine, beer and liquor company sales slightly decline, this makes way for a slightly bigger spot in the market for more craft breweries. In the Vancouver/Lower Main Land area, there are around 35 established micro and nano-breweries. Many of these have become extremely popular with consumers in Vancouver and in other areas of BC. In addition, the importing of craft brews to other provinces has become easier, opening up a new market for sales.

With craft brew, taste is important, but branding and marketing can't be ignored. For example, Granville Island Brewing, which was formed in 1984, has grown to larger, more profitable company. They have a great tasting beer and a great brand. They went very far as a craft brewery and have since been purchased by Molson Coors. This may not be the direction that all nano or micro-breweries want to take, but the possibility for success in this industry is real.

There are some great resources available for craft brew start-ups with a lot of useful information. If you are interested in starting a nano-brewery, these sites are worth a read through:





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