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How many employees?


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That's a loaded question with too many variables needed for a good answer. What is your marketing plan? What is your definition of a few thousand cases? Do you live in a heavily or lightly populated area? What are your state laws regarding a tasting room? How many products are you making? What is your capacity? How much money do you have (it will never be enough, by the way)? What is your growth strategy? When do you need to break even? Do you have investors to keep happy? Will it really take a few years down the road to get to a few thousand cases, or is that your first year? Are you making everything yourself or supplementing your income with bulk product? Can you realistically work 18 hours per day 7 days per week (I do, but also have five employees)? Do you know how to do accounting (I don't, so that gets hired out)?

Every little detail matters. Some distilleries have 20+ employees after six or eight months. Some stay at one or two for years. It all depends on your business plan.

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Aren't all questions loaded? :)

I guess my question should have been, what are the key positions that a small craft distillery needs to operate without having the owner burnout after year 1. 18 hours are to be expected for sure. In other words, 1 person (the owner) can do a million different jobs, that we all know, but what would be the first few positions to hire for to make life easier for the owner? We don't self distribute but we do have a tasting room where we will be able to sell to the general public (but not to businesses). Also, is there somewhere where i can find what salaries in the distillery marketplace?

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Also, is there somewhere where i can find what salaries in the distillery marketplace?

I think http://bevforce.com/ will be your best resource for the "salaries" information you are looking for.

Unfortunately, as Two Bit began to point out, the variables that go into each operation's setup will vary so greatly that there is no way for anyone here to answer your question accurate to your situation. Employees are one of the most expensive things you will have to deal with when you are operating, and my suggestion is plan on having as few as possible for as long as possible.

I wrote an extensively detailed business plan (75+ pages before it turned into a 10page executive summary) and I don't recall having any more detail about employees in it beyond "3-5 projected after a couple years growth". Unless you are writing your plan for some local area development commission who will want to see a jobs projection because that's one of the things they are measured on, I'd keep the employee part of your plan very lean. Btw, we don't have 3-5 employees, we have just 1 (not counting my wife and myself). And that person's job is selling, hand shaking, selling, outreach, selling, visiting accounts, selling, selling, and selling.

Best of luck,


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  • 2 years later...

Bring back an old thread here with a more specific question. How many employees full time does your company have? When I say full time employees this includes the owner of a company. How many cases per year are you selling? To break it down further if your do have employees. How many sales people versus production people?

Id love to hear some input on this

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