No, not really.
You can make a living and you can make something you love. There’s a catch though.
Every brewer, winemaker and every distiller has come across this catch. The law of diminishing returns.
There’s only so much alcohol one person, or a small outfit of people, can produce. Once you max out your capacity of production you need a hell of a cash injection to expand.
So you work for five years trying to pay back your initial investment, making a living but existing in debt (even if only to yourself). If you are lucky you can pay off your debt before you max out your capacity and invest in the necessary upgrades to handle the next gear of production.
If you don’t then you will work harder than you’ve ever worked before as demand grows and you struggle to meet it. All of this without making a cent more than when you were not working that hard.
Considering most producers just brew/ferment/distill and bottle without marketing all that much, demand grows very slowly. Slow growth means a long time paying off debts, which can send you under long before you max out your capacity, so it’s a bit of a knife’s edge you have to balance.
If you’re a very smart operator you’ll have made enough of a name for your product that demand scales significantly faster than your production capacity and you can prove it. Prove scalability and you can suddenly get big investors to really help you take on the big boys.
However this means giving part of what you love away. It also means more potential debt… It also means you just made money selling your business and not making alcohol so technically it’s reaffirming my statement from the beginning of this post.
So how to not make money from booze part 2? Go buy a home brew kit and dream of selling your market-excluding hop-head creation. If you are lucky you can become a rich sell-out before you die a lonely old person with a Hagrid beard.
There’s a healthy dose of cynicism!