It's the elephant in the room, and the most asked question when we talk to our customers: How much is all of this going to cost me? Whether your heading into your second career, branching off from your brewing gig to open your own taproom, or upgrading from your starter system to your forever home, cost is usually the thing that weighs most heavily in your decision making process. Some are on a tight budget and others just want to get the most bang for their buck, but nobody wants to feel like they're being sold to. To help provide some guidance, we're laying the cards on the table. In this blog post, we'll look at three different sized breweries and a cellar setup to match the production.
Before we jump in, every brewery setup depends on what we call the "Three B's" -The Brewers, The Beer, and The Building. The right system for you is going to be driven by your brewing experience, what type of equipment you like and want, and how you approach the brew day. It'll also depend on the styles of beers that you intend on brewing (big beers? lagers? wild ales?), as well as the physical constraints and opportunities in your location. The systems below are representative, but nearly all of Brewmation's partners will customize the setup to fit their Three B's. For consistency, we'll set up each brew house with an oversized HLT, mash tun, and boil kettle, along with fermentation tanks and brite tanks of the same size.
A three barrel brewing system is a common size for a new brewery or taproom. Many of our customers looking at this size system are very cost-conscious, looking for a workhorse of a system with pro features, but without all of the bells and whistles. They want a system that will keep the tanks full, but plan on spending a lot of time in the brew house to make that happen. For the brew house, we'll start with a basic electric setup:
On the cold side, the system might include:
A few more parts, including an oxygenation assembly, carb stone, and all the basic hoses, tri-clamps, and pressure gauges would round out this package.
Optional Upgrades & Add-Ons: Any brewery can make use of a few add-ons, include a mobile cart pump, keg-washer, and a good supply of kegs to keep the beer flowing.
Price Tag: $50,000 - $60,000
When we go from a 3BBL to a 7BBL system, there are few more things to consider. In addition to the larger tanks, we'll need to increase the size of the pumps and cellar chiller and add a platform...these tanks are getting big! For comparison, we'll also look at a slightly higher level of automation that, while not a requirement in this size, will add some nice features and help simplify the brew day. We'll keep this as an electric brewery, but bump up the heat exchanger to a dual stag to minimize time to knock out to lager temps:
On the cold side, the system might include:
Optional Upgrades & Add-Ons: As before, you might want a fleet of kegs and a keg washer here, as well as a cart pump for whirlpooling and cellar transfers. At this size, the brewer might be happy to muscle through the mash in with a little elbow grease. We'll look at adding a motorized rake in the 15BBL setup.
Price Tag: $85,000 - $100,000
When looking at a fifteen barrel brewery, heating with steam becomes a stronger candidate. While it is still viable to heat with electric, and while steam is often a good choice even on smaller systems, it is frequently the best solution at this size. As before, there are some additional considerations when making this jump in size. The pumps will get another bump in HP, the mash tun will be outfitted with a motorized rake and plow, and the addition of a cold liquor tank (CLT) will help with bringing your wort to pitching temps. The CLT can also be used to blend down your hot liquor to strike temps, allowing you to keep a supply of very hot water on hand for cleaning, but we'll forgo that on this setup for simplicity.
In the brewery:
In the cellar:
Optional Upgrades & Add-Ons: The basic addition of ancillary equipment as before would apply here too, but this system is already outfitted with many of the advanced features that are needed to simplify your brew day.
Price Tag: $225,000 - $250,000
Whether your considering a modest 3BBL, a might 30 BBL, or anything in between, the cost is going to be a major factor in your purchase decision. The estimates above are meant to provide some guidance, but a hard look at the Three B's will help you to determine what's best for you. With dozens of possible tank configurations within each size system, endless possibilities for cellar options, and a host of control packages ranging from "no-frills" to "all the bells and whistles," there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Making accommodations for your growth potential with consideration to the system design and layout can also save you a lot of time an money in the future, so it's wise to plan ahead.
The best thing to do is to lean on your equipment supplier for guidance. They will be able to walk you through the details to makes sure that you're getting a system that will work for you.
(Warning: sales pitch coming up...)
Give Brewmation a call to help gt the ball rolling, or check out our Brewery Builder to walk through the details and we'll provide you with a budgetary quote. Whether you're an experienced brewer who knows what you want, or a new brewer looking for some guidance, we can help you spec out a brewery and provide you with all the details -and pricing -you need to bring your project to fruition.