The Going Pro Article Series brings interviews with homebrewers just like you who took a leap of faith and opened breweries or other businesses in the beer industry! Going Pro in the beer industry is a common dream among homebrewers, and we’re excited to be sharing JP of Keg Factory’s story today.
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Let’s Start the Interview!
Thanks for joining us, JP, and congratulations on going pro in the beer industry! Our hope is that other homebrewers who want to open beer-related businesses can learn from and be inspired by your experience in this process.
Tell us a little bit about your business!
Keg Factory is the internet’s local brew shop! We’re an online retailer of homebrewing equipment, ingredients, parts and hardware, keg and draft systems, and other homebrewing gear. We provide high-quality products at a fair price.
What makes you unique?
We’re unique because we’re the honest homebrew guys. We are focused on helping homebrewers brew great beer, and that’s why we have live chat on the website and we try to be available by phone as much as possible. When you contact Keg Factory through email, phone, or our website chat system, you’re likely talking Dylan and I (the owners), even if we use fake names! We try to be available 24/7 for questions and are often awake at 3 a.m. answering messages on the website chat. Our goal is always to get you the gear you need by the weekend!
We think that what makes us unique is that we will take any homebrewing problem that our customers encounter and try to solve it for them. If a customer needs a specific part but doesn’t know which one, we will search forums, blogs, books, and conduct any other research we need to to find that customer the perfect solution. Our goal is to expand our presence in forums and blogs to offer a “source a part service” in which we track down specialty parts for customers that need specialty parts, such as fittings for an old brew kettle. We have an extensive network of supplier connections to help find these parts, and we think that ability sets us apart from the average homebrew supply retailer.
We also provide the ability to provide an extended warranty on any parts that we sell through a partnership with Clyde, which helps our customers protect their investment in expensive homebrewing equipment. Ultimately, the goal of Keg Factory is to be unrivaled in the homebrewing space for our customer service.
Where are you located?
We are located in San Antonio TX, the home of Pearl Beer! If you’re ever in San Antonio, let us know! We try to stay engaged with the local beer community and we like to give out free brew at farmers markets and local events. One of our priorities is to utilize local resources for our products whenever we can. We carry the Intertap brand which is local to San Antonio and we work with a local brewmaster regularly. Keg Factory also has the must-haves like Anvil, but we also try and carry the homebrew kits and gifts for those looking to break into homebrew and just want to see if they have the magic touch for brewing beer.
How did you get started?
Like most great ideas, the decision to open Keg Factory was made over a few beers! My business partner Dylan and I went to high school together, but had not connected in over 10 years. Dylan has an e-commerce background, and before Keg Factory he ran a fairly large online furniture store. While he was successful in that business, he wanted to find something he could feel passionate about. Even though we haven’t spoken since high school, he reached out to me because of our different backgrounds in business and asked to meet up for a few beers to discuss whether we could make a viable business in the homebrewing space.
What growth has Keg Factory experienced?
The homebrew marketplace is just awesome. People are so nice and supportive in this space and we love serving this community. Dylan was shocked about how nice our customers are when there are issues with their order in comparison to his experience with his previous e-commerce business. The homebrewing community is a tight-knit group of awesome people that support each other, and we have seen great growth and made great connections because of it! We have a long road ahead and we are humbled by the success we have had to this point. Keg Factory is definitely not intended to be a get rich project for us and is much more focused to be our passion project.
What are your plans for the future of Keg Factory?
Growth! For now we are focused completely on e-commerce to keep our costs as low as possible so we can pass those savings onto the community. Opening a brick and mortar location may make sense for Keg Factory in the future, but for right now we are entirely online and don’t have any plans to change that. We want to continue providing unrivaled customer service to drive business and increase word-of-mouth referrals to Keg Factory.
This is a fulltime gig for us and we are in it to win it! Dylan and I are constantly online trying to make the experience better and negotiate savings we can pass on to customers. Dylan and I are currently the only employees. Come say hi anytime!
That’s all awesome, JP! Now that we know about Keg Factory, tell us a little bit about yourself!
How did you get started with homebrewing?
We started homebrewing with a kit we found in a clearance bin at a SteinMart and we were immediately hooked! Eventually we upgraded to a 7.5 gal bucket fermenter and history was made! We named our first batch the Crockett Crush after the Alamo hero Davey Crockett – our local hero here in San Antonio! Since we started, we have never changed our homebrew setup. We still have that old Anvil and use it as much as we can! We’ve gotten pretty good at cleaning the ‘ol girl too!
I developed an interest in working in the brewing and craft beer industry early on. Pearl Beer is right in our backyard was probably the biggest influence on me. I probably toured it 100 times before I was even legal drinking age!
Do you have any role models in the beer industry?
We love anything new and inventive, so the Fermzilla and Kegland team is awesome. We were thrilled when the Fermzilla came out because of the affordability. Our goal is to make homebrewing to be affordable for everyone so this was a big win for the industry!
What advice you would give to others who are interested in working in the beer industry?
If someone told me years ago how nice everyone was I would have started sooner. We live chat daily with home brewers who just drop in to tell us about their batch ideas or just want to say thanks for the customer service. This community really blows us away!
Reach out to the community. Everyone is so nice and inclusive of one another. We have to thank Chris Opela and the Brewmaster for really assisting us in finding our place in the market. The whole team is ultra-supportive and educates us daily.
What are your plans for your future in the industry, other than your current business?
We have bigger dreams for the Factory but right now we are building brick by brick, fitting in where we can and seeing what the industry needs. We hope one day to invent or provide solutions for everyone!
Is there anything else about you or your business that you would like to share?
We work hard daily in hopes of getting you a good deal! We love sourcing parts and researching issues in blogs and forums for you! Our goal is to be way more than a e-commerce store and become a full blown space for brewers to come and collaborate with one another.
How can people connect with you?
Check out our page www.kegfactory.com or on Instagram at @kegfactory. Come to the site and chat in and you will likely get Dylan or myself, we might give you a pseudonym to keep it fun for us but just call us out! Its us!
Thanks for Stopping By!
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