How Big Should A Brewery Be?
Continuing on my previous post about competion analysis and knowing what kind of beer (Lager, Ale and/or own beer) will be served, it becomes important to answer – how big should the brewery be?
While setting up a microbrewery one should always allow room for future expansion. We know that the single most expensive part in the functioning of a brewpub will be the equipment itself and it will not be possible to keep changing the equiment frequently. Most brewpubs brew in seven or ten barrel batches, depending on the location, the size of the premises and what they are serving. Most brewpub start-up systems go with a seven barrel system. This will suffice for medium sized, retail only brewpubs. If it is an ambitious project, then one must consider upwards of ten barrel systems. Also while designing a brewpub, one must remember that the brewery system will occupy approx 1000 square feet (for a seven barrel brewery) plus another 1000-1500 square feet for operations. A larger brewery system will take up more space.
However much that we desire, it will be impossible to brew round-the-clock. As an entrepreneur one must keep in mind that there would be at least 15 days total production time for ales and about 21 days for normal lagers. Add to this the number of different types of beers you wish to sell, you can then decide the volume you need to brew each week. Initially I would suggest few brews per week and gradually increasing it.
This way you will have an idea about the possible demand, capacity to brew and can then work out the brewlength depending upon the hours you wish. Ideally two to three brews per week is very much doable, keeping in mind that one would require time at the start & end of the week for activities like warm up, cleaning, maintainence and some time for the inevitable breakdowns. If you are doing less than two brews/week then you are surely oversized and if you are doing more than three brews/week then you are undersized, keeping in mind the expansion.
A good consultant should help you estimate the annual production, identify and install the right brewery equipment for your brewpub.