Attic Brew: A Birmingham Brewery Success Story

The rapid development of one of Birmingham’s youngest breweries & how it expanded its output to match market demand

Backgrounds:

Attic Brew is a fairly newly established Birmingham brewery that is developing and expanding its market at an unbelievable speed. In 2018, a few enterprising college graduates came up with a genius startup and business plan, alongside some criteria they believed would be essential to their success:

  • The brewery had to represent the local beer market and the locality
  • The brewery had to run at maximum efficiency with a crew of 2
  • They would invest in high-quality, affordable brewery equipment whenever they needed to add an expansion or upgrade. 

This turned out to be a foolproof recipe to brewery success. This year, in 2021, Attic Brew management made the important decision to completely upgrade their brewery with the addition of a brand new 30HL automated commercial brew kit.

After the Attic Brew team did extensive research and communicated with brewery equipment manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world, it should come as no surprise that they chose YoLong Brewtech.

YoLong Brewtech is proud to be the vendor of this project, however, with it came certain challenges which we would like to share here.

Technical Challenges Installing a 30HL automated commercial brew kit

  1. Attic Brew, in keeping with its determination to keep startup costs low while uplifting the architectural heritage of Birmingham, is based in a pre-WW1 building. And while this adds to the unique charm of the working premises, there was a bit of a question when it came down to how we could design the new brewery setup to suit the existing building. The building is narrow in some parts, which restricted the usual ‘pack up, transport, and install’ method of brewery equipment installation.
  2. There were questions about how to customize the client’s unique requirements and the best way to integrate the new brewery equipment and expansion with systems currently in place.

The good news is that after several months of design development by YoLong Tech team, we were finally able to provide the Attic Brew team with the design as seen below:

                                                       Images owned by YoLong Brewtech©

Details

The 30HL automated brew kit uses steam heating and is comprised of MMLT, KT, WP. This setup enables the brewery to optimize efficiency while still keeping the operating costs budget-friendly and effective. It cannot be stressed enough that any expansion and/or brewery equipment installation must be chosen with short term and long term budget costs in mind.

  • The lauter tun’s overall diameter is a critical factor when it comes to load. 
  • When the LT’s overall diameter exceeds 2250mm that means any container must match the new diameter output. 
  • The flat rack must load, which means additional costs related to the extra freight.
  • It was mentioned that oats would be an innovative new ingredient in the brew recipe. This grain actually causes a 15% mash efficiency drop. This shift would mean working on a 17 P brew, requiring a grain weight adjustment of approximately 930kg.
  • The current thickness of the grain bed in the LT is gauged to be 460mm. This means that the measurements and settings had to be adjusted. But after much discussion, it was decided that the Attic Brewery team would brew half-batches when the weight was excessive from bespoke ingredients.

These precise calculations mean that Attic Brew can continue to use locally sourced and unique ingredients secure in the knowledge that their equipment can handle the designated load. 

The YoLong custom brewery designers threw out the usual ”row” brewhouse design because of the Attic building’s one of a kind dimensions. We didn’t see this project as one where the building wasn’t wide enough – we saw it as a chance to be more innovative and creative with our design layout. The result? The current design actually helps reduce costs by eliminating extra connections, walkways, and piping. On top of that, the equipment has been custom manufactured to look aesthetically elegant while still being 100% functional from floor to ceiling and wall to wall!

                                            Images owned by YoLong Brewtech©

As seen in the above image, 2 water tanks beside the brewhouse as a water station. (Attic chose to go with automated controls as the most cost effective, time and staff management-friendly option).

These two tanks are automatically fed by the Ro water system depending on the level setting. The auto supply designs also supply automated functionality to the brewhouse; such as water temp, flow quantity and quality controls for mashing, grain washing, diluting, etc…

As we speak, Attic Brew’s custom design brewery equipment is on its way to the U.K. 

The new setup will be put into service in Jan 2022. 

What a great way to celebrate the New Year!

Stay tuned: we’ll keep you guys posted on the progress.