If you are really passionate about homebrewing and you might want to consider starting your own business, you may want to know how you could actually get started with your own microbrewery. A microbrewery doesn’t have to have the same equipment that a large-scale craft brewery needs to have. With a few proven recipes that you have tried on a small scale, an investment in your time and some money you can get together the equipment you need to start a business in brewing.
Here is a list of some of the top microbrewery equipment that you will need to get started.
A mash system
This is equipment that generally includes a mash tank, electric steam generator, lauter tun, wort pump, malt mill machine and plat heat exchanger. These are some of the tools that you will need to produce around 1000 litres of beer per batch. The same system that you use for your home microbrew was simply not be effective on these mass scales.
A cooling pump, fermentation tank, equipment for adding yeast and more will all be required for managing the fermentation process with your beer. Although this is one of the longer aspects of brewing, you will need to have the equipment set up and ready to monitor the progress of your beer.
A cooling system
A large liquid tank as well as a refrigeration machine will be needed to cool down your beer to prevent bacteria growth as well as to store your beer for sale.
A filter pump as well as a filter Diamite tank will help you to get rid of any sediment as well as produce a far better quality microbreew.
You will need to have control set up for not only refrigerator, your PLC controls but also a master controlling board for all of the electronics and pumps. These are safety measures that you can use to halt production and prevent accidents while maintaining control over many litres of product.
Cleaning and sanitation
You will need a large-scale tank that you can use for housing your sterilization solution, an alkali liquor tank as well as a washing pump. With all of these various tools you can sanitize all of your equipment as well as sanitize the other tanks so that you can produce several batches of beer. Without the right sterilization equipment and lots of sanitizing chemicals you should not even get started with brewing a new batch of beer on site. These are inventory items that you can’t afford to miss.
A bottling/ kegging tap
You will need a pump to actually keg your beer from its final production as well as a potential bottling plant if you plan on putting all of your beer into bottles. Many microbreweries use a tap with a large keg and a growler style container. This can be a little more cost-effective. You may also consider placing your beer in cans for easier storage.
Your basic ingredients
From there you can work on getting together your ingredients and starting your first batch of beer. Scale up some of your favorite recipes and brew them on a grand scale for sale!
If you are truly serious at starting a small scale craft brewery you will definitely need some investors. A brand-new brewery will need equipment and this can cost between a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars if you are planning on getting several fermenters, bright tanks and renting a location. If you’re ready have a restaurant and you’re interested in starting up a brew pub this can sometimes cut some of the costs down. Saving some money up front however if you want to brew outside of your home area or owned business is absolutely essential. Most microbrewery beginners estimate that a few fermenters and the equipment that you need for hand kegging and simple bottling on a professional scale will likely require around $100,000 for investment. This represents a very basic setup that you could use to take you through the first year of your microbrewery without items breaking down.
Opening up any kind of microbrewery also will require skirting around some legal issues. Certain zoning laws will prevent you from opening up a brewery in certain areas. You may also have to complete some license applications as well as work with several government agencies to regulate the sale of your products. Finding a way that you can actually sell your product and legally produce it is a great idea before you get stuck with a lot of beer you can’t sell or the chance you might get shut down halfway through your first production.
Must reads on how to build successful microbrewery
Brewery Operations Manual : 3 steps to open and run a successful brewery
“After several years of searching and three or four attempts to start a brewery, in November 2015 my team and I finally found a great location in Luray, Virginia, and now we are in the process of construction, licensing, and installing our brewery. For my part, this journey would have been impossible without this book, even though we did not go the very cool “Frankenbrew” route that is described in this book. I’ve gone back to these pages many times as we made progress towards opening, and I have bought copies for each team member to help keep us all on the same page as we make our way forward. Highly recommend.“
“I love how the author put multiple examples of brewery costs (this took up almost half the book) you would have buy a number of books to compare how much was spent to open a brewery but he compiled it all into one. Great read! Learnt so much“
Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
“Out of the half dozen or more brewing books I own this was the easiest to read and related to. I thought that Business For Punks would be my favorite, but this one ended up being it so far.“
“I LOVED this book. It is both entertaining and informative. Sam Calagione is a great writer, and you feel like you know him by the time you finish the book. He offers some wonderful advice and tells great stories. I highly recommend this book for anyone who either owns a small business or wishes to start one. Does not have to be a brewery…“
So You Want to Start a Brewery?: The Lagunitas Story
“Tony Magee and his Lagunitas Brewing Company put out some pretty darn good beer but perhaps Mr. Magee missed his calling as a story teller. Without spoiling the book, the author puts a pretty humorous spin (although some of the experiences probably weren’t as humorous while he was going through them) on everything he has gone through over 20+ years of starting a growing one of the leaders in the craft brewing revolution. He is exceptionally candid about his dealings with everyone from banks that had no faith in his business to regulators who seemed to want to put him out of business. He goes into what it took to “make the brand” and shares thoughts on every aspect of the craft brewing business. I could easily see myself sitting down and listening to Mr. Magee (can I call you Tony?) for hours over a few of his creations. The book is a well written and is really hard to put down once you start. If you have any interest at all in the craft beer business this book is must reading.“
A Brewer’s Guide to Opening a Nano Brewery: Your $10,000 Brewery Consultant for $15, Vol. 1
“Straight forward, usefull tips and advise. Super quick read. Outlines a step by step way to get your nano started”
“This is an awesome book for anyone interested in potentially starting their own brewery. It’s written in a format that’s easily digestible well providing a lot of useful information. What’s even more awesome is Dan provides his email address in case you have any follow-up questions. I had a couple and he got back to me in like an hour. Amazing!“