New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

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dloper

New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Tue May 06, 2014 5:49 pm

Hello. I'm new to the forum but I've been brewing for many years now.

The story so far is that I applied for a microbrewery job towards the end of last year, which I didn't get, so I thought I might as well start my own. I'm starting in a very small way, in my 5.3 x 3.6m garage, and I'm in the middle of setting it out as Environmental Services dictate - washable walls and floor, sealed ceiling, drainage etc. The chap who visited was very helpful and it wasn't as onerous as I thought it might be. He did say that one of his concerns before he visited was possible odours, but there are 4 distilleries within spitting distance in the village, so no worries on that score. I've also spoken with Trading Standards, again with no problems and the Water Board aren't at all bothered by the relatively small amount of effluent I'll produce. I've not yet applied for change of use planning permission, which they say I'll need but I think I may leave that until it becomes pressing. I don't think they'd shut me down, hopefully they'll ask me to apply retrospectively. I still need to get a food premises certificate and register with HMRC as a brewery, but those are minor details.

Equipmentwise, it's very much make and mend. I've a friend who can weld stainless and he's putting together a 300 litre boiler which I'll use for 200 litre brews, powered by 2 3kw elements. For fermenters and bright tanks, I got hold of 6 220 litre blue plastic barrels and for a mash tun, I'll buy a 165 litre cool box. I'm considering an immersion heater hot water tank as an HLT.

I'll only be doing bottle conditioned beer for a start, as it's a bit too expensive for me to invest in casks etc. and very few pubs around here - Morayshire - have the equipment to pull cask conditioned ale so I'd have to supply that too.

So, 200 litres a week to start with, but I reckon I just about have the space to brew 3 times a week at some point, if there's demand. I may not make a living at it, but it's still worth doing as a sideline.

More to follow, but meantime the missus wants her computer back.

chris2012
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by chris2012 » Tue May 06, 2014 6:29 pm

Good luck! This is something i'd love to do too, I've got a ~200l stainless steel drum I've been meaning to rig up with an electric element for the boiler.
You can get stainless buckets @ 200l from http://www.homebrewbuilder.co.uk/ by the way - I'm quite tempted to get some for the mash tun and HLT.

Cazamodo

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by Cazamodo » Tue May 06, 2014 6:53 pm

Are you looking to brew as your sole form of income?
I was lucky enough to get a job in a microbrewery here in town and at a push I can squeeze out 2.5BBL, but we don't retail our beers, they are just used to supply three bars owned by the company. And even now we wish we were bigger. Or should I say I wish we were bigger haha, as we are always brewing as much as we can and as frequently, but still never seem to have as much stockpiled as I would like.

Luckily I dont have the stress of finding people to buy our beer, but it does mean I'm turning away request for beer festivals and local pubs just on the basis of having to keep enough in stock so we dont run out ourselves.

The point I'm making is, go as big as you can to begin with. Ok not crazy, but if your looking to make a living from it, as soon as you start to be successful, you'll wish you were bigger.

Best of luck!

P.S Just realised I missed the second from last sentence, but even as a sideline, I'd look to go higher, and as you say IF your successfully you'll soon be wanting to brew bigger batches.

dloper

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Tue May 06, 2014 9:04 pm

Thanks - Perhaps I should have called it a 'pilot' brewery. It won't be my sole source of income but it will allow me to test the local market before I make a bigger commitment.

I'll keep the forum informed and I'll post some pics and details of my set up once I've progressed a bit further.

Chris, I looked at that site and I may go for a 200 litre pot, with tap and element as an HLT

Patterd Ale
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by Patterd Ale » Tue May 06, 2014 10:09 pm

Where are you based fella? I used to brew fairly locally to you. Plenty of breweries around if you want a job.

dloper

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Tue May 06, 2014 10:31 pm

Based in Rothes, near Elgin. There are 4 Microbreweries locally. And as a successful businessman once told me, 'If there are half a dozen brass lamp polishers in the area, there's probably room for one more. If there are none, ask yourself why.'

I've already got a day job. I'm kinda glad the brewery job fell through as it helped motivate me to start my own.

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scotia
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by scotia » Wed May 07, 2014 9:18 am

The chap who visited was very helpful and it wasn't as onerous as I thought it might be. He did say that one of his concerns before he visited was possible odours,


You can take a 90 deg bend off the top of the copper and into a T piece on edge, the bottom outlet dropping to the floor and then run 22mm copper to drain. On the topside blank off and install an atomiser jet onto a length of tube which will pass by the opening of the T feed this with cold water this will condense the steam and stop any odour. Neighbours will have more clout objecting against you than against a distillery.
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fego
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by fego » Wed May 07, 2014 1:20 pm

What beers are you going to brew and how do you plan on bottling it?

Also, have you written a business plan yet? Do you know how much money you might make if you manage to brew and sell 600 litres a week?

Have you ID'd the outlets you will sell to and do you know how many bottles they will want/be able to sell a week?

If you get to max capacity and produce 1,200 bottles a week, that will mean delivering a case of 24 bottles to 50 outlets each week which sounds like hard work and a lot of driving to me. However, you could probably expect to make a 50p margin on each bottle which could give you a gross income of £600 if the demand is there and if your equipment doesn't cost a lot to build or maintain, you will only have utilities, petrol money and income tax to pay from that.
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dloper

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Wed May 07, 2014 7:04 pm

Well now fego, it sounds like you are someone who's done his homework!

I do have a business plan and you've hit the nail fairly well on the head with your estimates. I do expect to spend a lot of my time out and about and I realise that making beer will be a minor portion of what I have to do to run a commercial brewery but I've always been a risk taker and I'd far rather spend 80 hours a week doing something interesting than work in a 'proper job' for the same wage.

I plan on 2 brews to start off with, both based on the same recipe which I know works very well. A 4% bitter in 500ml bottles and an ESB at 7% in 330 ml bottles. As for sales volumes, I have enough outlets locally who are willing to stock my beer and they reckon they can dispose of 200 litres per week but the main stumbling block here is that they need beer to gauge demand. My financial risk is minimal - £4k tops - which is why I'm running this as a pilot scheme. 600 litres per week is my medium term target for self sufficiency, but demand would need to be more than 1500 litres per week to tempt me into a bigger investment and commercial premises etc. Having run a business in the past, there's no way I'm going to get into business loans and finance just to end up working for the bank again.

P.S. - I also have some electronics experience and I'm designing a solenoid valve based and gravity fed bottle filler which will start on the push of a button and stop automatically when the bottle is full. It's modular so can accommodate one, two, three or more heads.

dloper

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Wed May 07, 2014 7:26 pm

[quote="scotia"][b][quote]The chap who visited was very helpful and it wasn't as onerous as I thought it might be. He did say that one of his concerns before he visited was possible odours,[/quote][/b]

You can take a 90 deg bend off the top of the copper and into a T piece on edge, the bottom outlet dropping to the floor and then run 22mm copper to drain. On the topside blank off and install an atomiser jet onto a length of tube which will pass by the opening of the T feed this with cold water this will condense the steam and stop any odour. Neighbours will have more clout objecting against you than against a distillery.[/quote]

Thanks for that - my primary concern is DMS and avoiding condensate dripping back into the kettle.

asd

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by asd » Wed May 07, 2014 8:26 pm

I'm looking at this problem at the moment. My proposed way round it is to use a blower thru a narrowed venturi tube, thru a pipe, with a tee to the kettle, rather than suction. That will then suck the steam through the tee and blow the steam outside , and avoid the possibility of DMS.


I've experimented with a £40 lawn blower, and it seems to work, which is a better result than the £7K I was quoted for a bespoke extraction system! Noisy, though.

It has to BLOW rather than suck, though. Please no ribald comments.

And maybe blowing thru a steam condenser will be even better.

ubern

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by ubern » Wed May 07, 2014 9:04 pm

I think this might be my first ever post on the forum (longterm lurker) but this is very interesting to me so I have had to reply. I live in Fochabers and I work for Windswept and I will be watching this very closely. I've often wondered about just how small you could operate 'commercially', I have to say I have never thought at volumes as low as 200l but I wish you all the best with your venture. The more breweries up here the better.

dloper

Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by dloper » Wed May 07, 2014 9:52 pm

ubern wrote:I think this might be my first ever post on the forum (longterm lurker) but this is very interesting to me so I have had to reply. I live in Fochabers and I work for Windswept and I will be watching this very closely. I've often wondered about just how small you could operate 'commercially', I have to say I have never thought at volumes as low as 200l but I wish you all the best with your venture. The more breweries up here the better.
I must be (meantime) one of Windswepts best customers - draught APA - :)

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scotia
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by scotia » Sat May 10, 2014 10:07 am

dloper wrote:
scotia wrote:
The chap who visited was very helpful and it wasn't as onerous as I thought it might be. He did say that one of his concerns before he visited was possible odours,


You can take a 90 deg bend off the top of the copper and into a T piece on edge, the bottom outlet dropping to the floor and then run 22mm copper to drain. On the topside blank off and install an atomiser jet onto a length of tube which will pass by the opening of the T feed this with cold water this will condense the steam and stop any odour. Neighbours will have more clout objecting against you than against a distillery.
Thanks for that - my primary concern is DMS and avoiding condensate dripping back into the kettle.

If it works on a 1640ltr set up I cant see the problem on 200ltr.
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john luc
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Re: New 'Commercial' 200l brewery

Post by john luc » Sat May 10, 2014 2:06 pm

Very clever answer to this problem. So just so I understand you the steam comes up from the kettle and turns 90 degrees into a T piece. The T is pointed north and south and you fit the atomiser at the north end to blast water on to the steam thus trapping the odour and then draining it through the south end. :D . I like it.
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