Nanobrewing: Craft beer's hot start-up trend

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    Blind Bat beers for sale at Long Island's Northport Farmers' Market

    - Paul Dlugokencky

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    Blind Bat brewmaster Paul Dlugokencky in his nanobrewery

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

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    Blind Bat brewmaster Paul Dlugokencky in his nanobrewery

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

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    Blind Bat brewmaster Paul Dlugokencky's nanobrewery is in a garage behind his house

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

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    Rockaway Brewing Company co-founder Marcus Burnett brews a scotch ale

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

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    Rockaway Brewing Company co-founder Ethan Long, in gray, leads an impromptu tour

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

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    Rockaway Brewing Company founders Ethan Long (L) and Marcus Burnett

    - Mark Garrison / Marketplace

The growth of America’s craft beer scene is well documented: Smaller, independent brewers are flourishing as big beer companies fight declining sales. But an untold business story is the recent explosion of nanobreweries, operations far tinier than even microbreweries.

Growing demand for ever smaller, ever more local beer is opening new opportunities for talented homebrewers to test the marketplace for their beer. The mid-six figure investment required to start a microbrewery is too high a bar for most people who begin brewing as a hobby. But those who are serious and passionate about building a beer business can now launch nanobreweries with a much more attainable five-figure investment.

This new way to try going pro is why brewmasters are opening nanobreweries across America in growing numbers. That makes it interesting for drinkers, because nanobrewers make some of the most creative and unusual beers around.

In addition to this Marketplace audio report, Mark Garrison also reported on nanobrewing for Slate. You can read more in the companion story at Slate.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter for Marketplace and substitute host for the Marketplace Morning Report, based in New York.
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Enjoyable. Thanks for the focus on the craft beer biz although I disagree that Demand exceeds Supply for craft beer. Nanobreweries are great for entrepreneurs to do market research--"liquid business cards"--because the business model can't deliver ROE or even minimum wage for its energetic proprietor. An untold story is that the complex State regulatory structure for alcohol is a minefield for the hobbiest turned pro brewer. In CA, the fine is $10k minimum.

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