In this article we’ll look at some brewery building preparation tips. I get asked about this subject a lot as a brewery consultant, including today. So, it’s been at the forefront of my mind.
Plus, I think this post will be a nice foundation for people to research off too.
#1. Water – The Main Ingredient of Beer
Beer is the man ingredient in water so, seems like the logical place to start. I’ve worked in breweries where the water pressure has been poor and it makes a brewer’s life miserable.
You want good water pressure as you’ll be using it all the time. For rinsing tanks, filling tanks, cleaning floor and more.
Ideally a brewery should have minimum water pressure of 60 PSI with a flow rate of 100-liters a minute.
The water flow should be constant and unaffected by being used elsewhere. Furthermore, if possible, plan to have access to hot and cold water throughout the brewery, especially in your lab.
Before you begin brewing you need to get a water analysis of your brewery’s water. Depending where you live, you might be able to get all the data you need from a government agency. Otherwise, you’ll need to use a third-party lab.
A water report will give you the ionic composition, water hardness and pH allowing you to determine water treatment for your brews.
In many countries, people are now turning to RO (reverse osmosis) to treat their water and start with a “blank canvas”. Depending where you live the machinery can be expensive plus, it can waste a lot of water.
#2. Drainage – Brewery Building Preparation Tips
If you go on forums and people ask about building prep, brewers always talk about drainage. Having good drainage in your brewery can save you a lot of time. You want to have sufficient drainage throughout your brewery.
This includes in:
- Brewhouse area
- Your fermentation and cellar
- Cold storage
- Boiler room
- Packaging room
- As well as any other areas where water or spillage can occur
If possible having pitched floors to help with drainage, is also a great help. The recommend pitch is 2cm per 1 meter towards the drain.
As for the type of drain, channel drains are your best option with stainless steel or fiber glass gratings. Furthermore, you want your drains to be correctly sized too. The drains need to handle 5 liters of effluent for every liter of beer produced.
#3. Your Brewery Floor
Laying the right floor in your brewery can save you money AND time down the line. You want a floor which is sealed and resistant to chemicals.
Specifically strong alkalis and acids which are used for brewery cleaning. The reason for example string acids can eat into concrete. So, the nitric/phosphoric acid used on beer stone and limescale will eat concrete floors which are not properly treated.
Also please note; breweries are places where the spillage of sticky and sugary liquids is hard to avoid. So, if you can make your walls and ceilings easily washable, you’ll make your life much easier.
#4. Electrical Requirements – Brewery Building Preparation Tips
In a commercial brewery you’ll need regular and three-phase outlets. The 3-phase outlets is for larger equipment such as pumps and keg washers as well as your brewhouse.
You need to work with your equipment supplier, architect and contractor to make sure the outlets are placed where they are needed.
Nearly every piece of brewery equipment needs an electric outlet. For example, your boiler/steam generator, packaging line, keg washer and most filters will need an electrical outlet.
Furthermore, if you have a large cellar with many tanks having several outlets for you pumps and filters can save you a lot of hassle.
#5. How Big Should Your Building Be?
When it comes to any new brewery, sizing is one of the key considerations. If you planning a brewpub or taproom, then having a balance between production and retail is critical.
A rule-of-thumb is you need 10-meters square of floor space for every hectoliter (HL) of brew system size. This is only for the brewhouse, add in keg washer, more cellaring and packaging then you need more space.
So, for a 300-liters brewhouse you’d need about 30-meters square of space. For a 1,500-liter system then you’d need 150-meters square of space.
As I say this is only a rough guide and only for the brewhouse. But it gives you an idea of the space you need.
#6. Ceiling Height – Brewery Building Preparation Tips
The size of system required will often determine ceiling height needed. For smaller brewpub systems between 5 to 10HL (500 to 1,000 liters) a ceiling height of 3.75 meters to 4.5 meters will often be enough.
If floor space is at a premium but you’ve a lot of ceiling height then stacked fermentation vessels are a great option.
The bigger your brewery system or if you’re a production brewery then additional ceiling height is required. If you’re above 15HL (1,500 liters) then having an automated grain delivery system is helpful.
These systems usually require higher ceilings. However, these days brewery equipment manufacturers can tailor fabrication to fit into the available space. Still, there are limits, speaking with your chosen manufacturers about these issues is best.
#7. Venting and Exhausts
The easiest way for me to this is by example. When you make beer, one of the processes is to boil wort in the brew kettle, creating steam. You need a flue or condenser to deal with this steam.
If you choose a steam fired system with a gas boiler, then you’ll also need an exhaust flue for the system. It’s the same for a direct fire system too, you’ll need an exhaust for the kettle fire box.
#8. Equipment Delivery and Prior Planning – Brewery Building Preparation Tips
This is a one consideration often overlooked by people when planning their new brewery. You’ll need a forklift and possibly a crane too (depending in system size) on the day your equipment is delivered.
The forks of your forklift should be extendable and possibly padded to protect your brand-new equipment. Furthermore, make sure you have left sufficient access to allow your equipment to pass through any entrance.
Brewery Building Preparation Tips- Conclusions
The better your preparation and planning the quicker the unloading, commissioning and installation of the brewery will go. So, when utility outlets and water lines are correctly placed the installation phase will be quicker and smoother.
We’ve covered many of the main considerations here. However, if you have any follow-up questions or would like some assistance then please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can leave a comment below. There’s a lot to consider when planning a brewery