How to Start a Beer Line Cleaning Business in 14 Steps (In-Depth Guide)

Updated: April 9, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

With the craft beer industry experiencing explosive growth, there’s never been a better time to start your own beer line cleaning business. As the number of breweries and taprooms continues to rise, it is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% from 2023 to 2033.


Imagine being your boss, setting your schedule, and earning a profitable income while helping local businesses serve the perfect pint. By providing top-notch beer line cleaning services, you’ll play a crucial role in ensuring that every glass of beer is fresh, flavorful, and free from contamination.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to start a beer line cleaning business. We’ve got you covered from understanding the industry and acquiring the necessary equipment to marketing your services and building a loyal customer base.

1. Conduct Beer Line Cleaning Market Research

Before diving into the world of proper beer line cleaning, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research to understand the industry landscape, potential customer base, and competition. Market research offers insight into your target market, trends in the beer cleaning industry, and other details pertinent to your business plan.


Some details you may glean through market research to clean beer lines include:

  • Regular beer line cleaning is essential for maintaining the quality and taste of draft beer and ensuring consumers’ safety.
  • Over time, beer lines can become contaminated with bacteria, yeast, and other debris, leading to off-flavors, poor beer quality, and even health risks.
  • The beer line cleaning market is highly fragmented, with numerous small, local operators serving specific geographic areas.
  • Key success factors in the beer line cleaning industry include technical expertise, reliable and efficient service, strong customer communication, and the ability to scale operations as the customer base grows.
  • To assess the market potential for a beer line cleaning business in a specific area, it’s essential to research the local craft beer scene, including the number of breweries, taprooms, and bars serving draft beer.
  • Analyzing the competition, their service offerings, pricing, and customer reviews can provide valuable insights into the local market dynamics and help identify potential gaps or opportunities for differentiation.

In addition to local market research, it’s important to stay informed about industry trends, regulations, and best practices with your draft beer system.

2. Analyze the Competition

When starting a beer line cleaning business, it’s essential to analyze your competition to understand the market landscape and identify opportunities for differentiation. Begin by researching local beer line cleaning companies, as they will be your direct competitors.

Look for information on their draft beer systems, pricing, service areas, and customer reviews. Also, look at connections among beer distributors. This can be done through online searches, visiting their websites, and checking local business directories.

To gauge the level of competition, assess the number of established beer line cleaning businesses in your target market. If there are many well-established companies, you may need to differentiate your services or focus on underserved areas.

Analyzing your competitors’ online presence is crucial in today’s digital age. Evaluate their websites for user-friendliness, information quality, and search engine optimization (SEO). A strong online presence can help attract potential customers and establish credibility.

Attend local beer festivals, trade shows, and industry events to network with potential customers and competitors. Engaging with your competitors in person can also help you gauge their level of expertise and identify areas where you can excel.

3. Costs to Start a Beer Line Cleaning Business

Starting a commercial cleaning business (including beer line cleaning) requires careful planning and budgeting to ensure a successful launch and sustainable operation. Let’s break down the startup costs and ongoing expenses you can expect when establishing your beer line cleaning venture.


Startup Costs

  • Business registration and licenses: Depending on your location, you may need to register your business and obtain the necessary licenses. Budget around $300 to $1,000 for these initial legal requirements.
  • Equipment: Investing in high-quality beer line cleaning equipment is crucial. You’ll need a cleaning pump, cleaning solutions, brushes, fittings, and hoses. Expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on initial equipment purchases.
  • Vehicle: A reliable vehicle is necessary to travel to client locations and transport your equipment. If you don’t already have a suitable vehicle, budget around $15,000 to $30,000 for a used van or truck.
  • Insurance: Business insurance is essential to protect your company from potential liabilities. General liability insurance and vehicle insurance are key. Allocate approximately $1,000 to $2,000 annually for insurance premiums.
  • Marketing and advertising: To attract clients, you’ll need to invest in marketing and advertising. Set aside $1,000 to $3,000 for creating a website, business cards, flyers, and initial advertising campaigns.
  • Training and certifications: Proper training and certifications demonstrate your expertise and credibility. Budget $500 to $1,500 for courses, workshops, and certifications related to beer line cleaning and safety.

Total startup costs: Approximately $20,000 to $45,000.

Ongoing Costs

  • Cleaning solutions and supplies: You’ll need a consistent supply of cleaning solutions, sanitizers, and other consumables. Budget around $200 to $500 per month, depending on the size of your client base.
  • Vehicle maintenance and fuel: Regular vehicle maintenance and fuel costs are ongoing expenses. Allocate $500 to $1,000 per month for these transportation-related costs.
  • Equipment maintenance and replacement: Your beer line cleaning equipment will require regular maintenance and occasional replacement. Set aside $100 to $300 per month for these expenses.
  • Marketing and advertising: Ongoing marketing efforts are necessary to attract new clients and maintain brand visibility. Budget $300 to $1,000 per month for website maintenance, social media marketing, and targeted advertising campaigns.
  • Insurance premiums: Annual insurance premiums for general liability and vehicle insurance will be an ongoing expense. Budget $1,000 to $2,000 per year.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Keeping accurate financial records is essential for tax purposes and financial management. Allocate $100 to $300 per month for accounting software or bookkeeping services.
  • Telecommunications: You’ll need a reliable phone and internet connection to communicate with clients and manage your business. Budget $100 to $200 per month for these services.

Total ongoing costs: Approximately $2,300 to $6,300 per month, or $27,600 to $75,600 per year.

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting a beer line cleaning business, choosing the right legal entity is crucial for protecting your assets, limiting liability, and establishing a strong foundation for growth. Let’s explore the four main types of business entities and their pros and cons specifically for a beer line cleaning venture.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common business structure. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your beer line cleaning business, and all profits are yours. However, you are also personally responsible for all debts and liabilities incurred by the business.


A partnership involves two or more individuals who share ownership of the beer line cleaning business. Profits and losses are divided among the partners according to their agreement. Partnerships can be beneficial for pooling resources and expertise, but disagreements between partners can lead to complications.


A corporation is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. This structure provides the most protection for personal assets, as the corporation is responsible for its debts and liabilities. However, corporations are more complex and expensive to form and maintain, with stricter regulations and reporting requirements.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC combines the personal asset protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and simplicity of a sole proprietorship or partnership. As an LLC, your beer line cleaning business is a separate legal entity, shielding your assets from business liabilities. LLCs also offer flexibility in management structure and profit distribution.

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate legal entity for your beer line cleaning business, the next crucial step is to register your business for taxes. This process involves obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and setting up your business with your state’s tax authorities.

An EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify your business for tax purposes. It’s essentially a Social Security number for your beer line cleaning business.

Applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website. To get started, visit the IRS’s EIN application page. The application process is free and typically takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for an EIN:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Ensure that your beer line cleaning business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories and that you have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).
  2. Gather required information: Have your business formation documents, owner information, and business address ready.
  3. Apply online: Follow the prompts on the IRS website to complete the EIN application. You’ll need to provide information about your business structure, ownership, and reason for applying.
  4. Receive your EIN: Upon successful completion of the application, you’ll receive your EIN immediately. Download and save the confirmation letter for your records.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, you’ll also need to register your beer line cleaning business with your state’s tax authorities for sales tax purposes. Sales tax requirements vary by state, so it’s essential to research your specific state’s guidelines. Visit your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation website for information.

6. Setup Your Accounting

Setting up proper accounting practices is essential for the success and compliance of your beer line cleaning business. Accurate financial records help you make informed decisions, track your business’s health, and avoid potential legal and tax issues.

Accounting Software

To streamline your accounting process, consider using accounting software like QuickBooks. This powerful tool can automate many aspects of your financial management by integrating with your bank accounts and credit cards. QuickBooks can automatically categorize transactions, generate financial reports, and help you prepare for tax season.

Hire an Accountant

Accounting software is helpful, and working with a professional accountant can provide additional benefits. An accountant can offer services such as bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, and tax planning. They can ensure that your books are accurate and help you make strategic financial decisions.

Open a Business Bank Account

Open a dedicated bank account for your beer line cleaning business to keep your transactions separate. This practice makes it easier to track business income and expenses, prepare financial statements, and file taxes accurately.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

In addition to a business bank account, consider applying for a business credit card. A business credit card can help you manage cash flow, track expenses, and build your business’s credit history. Credit limits on business cards are often higher than personal cards and are determined based on your business’s financial health.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Obtaining the proper licenses and permits is a critical step in starting your beer line cleaning business. Find federal license information through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers a local search tool for state and city requirements.

Operating a business without the required licenses and permits can lead to serious legal consequences. In addition to financial penalties, you may face legal action from federal, state, or local authorities. This can damage your reputation and make it difficult to attract clients and grow your business.

One of the most important licenses for a beer line cleaning business is a general business license. This license is issued by your state or local government and allows you to legally operate your business within their jurisdiction.

A food handler’s permit ensures that you understand and follow proper sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent contamination. Check with your local health department to determine if a food handler’s permit is required for your beer line cleaning business.

Another important consideration is a wastewater disposal permit. Beer line cleaning involves the use of cleaning solutions and the disposal of wastewater. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a permit from your local water authority or environmental agency to ensure proper disposal of wastewater.

If your beer line cleaning business involves the use of a vehicle for transportation, you may need to obtain a commercial vehicle license. This license ensures that you and your employees are properly trained and licensed to operate the vehicle for business purposes.

8. Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is a critical component of running a successful beer line cleaning business. It provides financial protection against various risks and liabilities that could potentially damage or even destroy your company.

The primary purpose of business insurance is to safeguard your beer line cleaning business from financial losses due to unexpected events. These events can include accidents, property damage, lawsuits, and other unforeseen circumstances.

Consider these three scenarios where not having business insurance could have devastating consequences for your beer line cleaning business:

  • Property damage: While cleaning beer lines at a client’s establishment, one of your employees accidentally damages expensive draft beer equipment. Without property damage coverage, you would be liable for the cost of repairs or replacement, which could amount to thousands of dollars.
  • Liability lawsuit: A customer at a bar you service becomes ill and claims that your improper beer line cleaning caused their sickness. If they decide to sue your business, you could face significant legal fees and potential settlements. Without liability insurance, you would be responsible for these costs out of pocket.
  • Vehicle accident: While driving to a client’s location, your company vehicle is involved in an accident, causing injuries to the other driver and damage to their vehicle. Without commercial auto insurance, you would be personally liable for the other party’s medical expenses and property damage.

To protect your beer line cleaning business from these and other risks, it’s essential to obtain business insurance. The process of getting insured involves the following steps:

  • Assess your risks: Identify the specific risks your beer line cleaning business faces, such as property damage, liability claims, and vehicle accidents.
  • Determine coverage needs: Based on your identified risks, decide which types of insurance coverage you need. Common types include general liability, property, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Shop for insurance: Research and compare insurance providers that offer coverage tailored to the beer line cleaning industry. Consider factors such as coverage limits, deductibles, and premiums. The Insurance Information Institute provides a helpful guide on choosing the right business insurance.
  • Gather necessary information: Prepare information about your supplies for cleaning draft beer systems, including revenue, number of employees, and business assets, to obtain accurate insurance quotes.
  • Apply for coverage: Once you’ve selected an insurance provider, complete the application process and provide any required documentation.
  • Review and maintain coverage: Carefully review your insurance policies to ensure they meet your business’s needs. Regularly review and update your coverage as your business grows and evolves.

By investing in business insurance, you can protect your beer line cleaning business from financial losses, legal liabilities, and other unforeseen events. This allows you to operate with confidence, knowing that you have a safety net in place to help you overcome potential challenges and continue growing your business.

9. Create an Office Space

Creating an office space for your beer line cleaning business can provide numerous benefits, even if your primary work occurs at client locations. An office space serves as a central hub for administrative tasks, equipment storage, and employee coordination.

Home Office

For many beer line cleaning businesses, especially those just starting, a home office can be a practical and cost-effective solution. If you have a dedicated room or area in your home, you can set up a functional office space without incurring additional rent expenses. A home office is ideal if you have a small team and limited equipment storage needs.

Coworking Office

Coworking spaces, like WeWork, offer a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional office spaces. With a coworking membership, you can access professional amenities such as meeting rooms, high-speed internet, and printing services. This option is particularly suitable if you have a small team and don’t require a full-time office space.

Retail Office

If your beer line cleaning business requires a storefront or a space to showcase your services, a retail office may be appropriate. However, for most beer line cleaning businesses, a retail office is not necessary, as the majority of your work will be conducted at client locations.

10. Source Your Equipment

As a new entrepreneur in the beer line cleaning business, sourcing the right equipment and materials is crucial to reducing beer stone for your clients. The essential equipment for beer line cleaning includes a cleaning pump, cleaning solutions, brushes, fittings, and hoses.

Buying New

Purchasing new equipment ensures that you have reliable, high-quality tools that meet industry standards. New equipment often comes with warranties and support from the manufacturer. You can buy new beer line cleaning equipment from specialized suppliers such as Micro Matic or Keg Works.

Buying Used

Buying used equipment can be a cost-effective way to acquire the necessary tools for your beer line cleaning business. Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist often have listings for used beer line cleaning equipment. You can also check with local breweries or bars that may be upgrading their equipment.


Renting beer line cleaning equipment can be a good option if you’re just starting and want to minimize upfront costs. Rental companies like United Rentals or Sunbelt Rentals offer a variety of cleaning equipment, although their selection of specialized beer line cleaning tools may be limited.


Leasing beer line cleaning equipment is another option for entrepreneurs who want to spread the cost of equipment over time. Leasing companies specialize in leasing equipment for the food and beverage industry. With leasing, you make monthly payments for the use of the equipment over a set term.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Establishing a strong brand identity is crucial for a beer line cleaning business to stand out in a competitive market. A well-defined brand helps create a memorable impression on potential customers, builds trust, and communicates your business’s unique value.

Getting a Business Phone Number

A dedicated business phone number is essential for establishing credibility and professionalism. It allows customers to easily contact you and separates your personal and professional communications. Consider using a reliable service like Ring Central, which offers features such as call forwarding, voicemail, and mobile apps.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets

A well-designed logo is the foundation of your brand identity. It should be memorable, simple, and reflective of your business’s values and personality. Online logo design tools like Looka make it easy to create professional logos and complementary brand assets, such as color palettes and typography, that ensure consistency.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are a tangible representation of your brand and a convenient way to share your contact information with potential clients. Vistaprint offers a wide range of customizable business card and signage options that align with your brand identity.

Purchasing a Domain Name

A domain name is your business’s online address and a critical component of your digital presence. When selecting a domain name, keep it short, memorable, and relevant to your business. Namecheap is a reliable and affordable domain registrar that offers a wide selection of domain extensions and easy-to-use management tools.

Building a Website

A professional website is essential for showcasing your services, sharing customer testimonials, and providing contact information. Website builders like Wix offer user-friendly templates. Hiring a web designer or developer from platforms like Fiverr can save you time and promote how your cleaning services lead to great beer and no off taste.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining a brewers association or group is a powerful way to network, learn from others, and grow your beer line cleaning business. These communities provide valuable opportunities to connect with industry professionals, share knowledge, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Local Associations

Local associations are excellent resources for connecting with other professionals in the beer and hospitality industries. These organizations often host events, workshops, and training sessions that can help you expand your skills and knowledge. For example, the Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association are great places to start.

Local Meetups

Attending local meetups and trade shows is a great way to network with other professionals, learn about new products and services, and showcase your expertise. Meetup is an online platform that makes it easy to find and join local events related to your industry.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups provide a virtual platform for connecting with professionals and enthusiasts in the beer line cleaning industry. These groups offer a wealth of knowledge, support, and networking opportunities. Try starting with groups like Beer Brewing Equipment & Distillation Equipment and Cleaning Business Owners.

13. How to Market a Beer Line Cleaning Business

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and a beer line cleaning business is no exception. To succeed in this competitive industry, you must effectively promote your services and reach your target audience. By implementing a well-rounded marketing strategy that includes both digital and traditional tactics, you can attract new clients.


Personal Networking

When starting your beer line cleaning business, your network is one of your most valuable assets. Reach out to friends, family, and former colleagues who may have connections in the beer and hospitality industries. Attend local events and trade shows to introduce yourself and your services to potential clients.

Digital Marketing

  • Create a Google My Business listing to appear in local search results and make it easy for potential clients to find your contact information and read reviews.
  • Develop targeted Google Ads campaigns that focus on keywords related to beer line cleaning services in your area, such as “beer line cleaning [your city]” or “draft system maintenance.”
  • Leverage Facebook Ads to reach a specific audience, such as brewery owners or restaurant managers, and showcase your expertise through engaging posts and videos.
  • Start a YouTube channel featuring educational content on beer line cleaning best practices, troubleshooting tips, and industry trends to establish your authority and attract potential clients.
  • Launch a blog on your website that covers topics related to beer line cleaning, draft system maintenance, and the importance of clean lines for beer quality and customer satisfaction.

Traditional Marketing

  • Design eye-catching flyers and distribute them to local breweries, bars, and restaurants, highlighting your services and any special promotions or discounts.
  • Create informative brochures that detail your beer line cleaning process, benefits, and pricing, and make them available at local beer and food industry events.
  • Consider placing ads in local newspapers or industry publications that target your ideal customers, such as brewery owners or restaurant managers.
  • Sponsor local beer festivals or events to increase brand visibility and connect with potential clients in a fun and engaging setting.
  • While traditional marketing tactics like radio ads or billboards can be effective for some businesses, they may not provide the best return on investment for a beer line cleaning service, as they often have a broad reach rather than targeting a specific audience.

Remember, the key to successful marketing is consistency and adaptability. Regularly assess the performance of your marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed to optimize your results. Try combining digital and traditional tactics, leveraging your network, and prioritizing customer satisfaction for the best results.

14. Focus on the Customer

In the beer line cleaning business, customer service is paramount to success. Unclean bottles lead to off tasting beer and beer lost due to the buttery taste of the tainted draught beer. Your clients, which include breweries, bars, and restaurants, rely on you to keep their draft systems clean, efficient, and compliant with health regulations.

When you consistently deliver high-quality service, you establish yourself as a reliable and valuable partner and brewers spend more on your services. Word-of-mouth referrals are incredibly powerful to those operating long draw systems, as brewery and restaurant owners often rely on experiences and recommendations.

Moreover, happy clients are more likely to provide positive online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. These reviews serve as social proof for potential clients who are researching beer line cleaning services in their area.

Prioritizing customer service in your beer line cleaning business is essential for building a loyal client base, generating valuable referrals, and establishing a positive online presence. By consistently delivering exceptional service and fostering strong relationships with your clients, you can differentiate yourself from competitors.

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