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Commercial Microbrewery Equipment

A commercial microbrewery equipment requires specialized equipment to produce craft beer on a small to medium scale for sale. The key considerations when choosing microbrewery equipment include:

Brewing System Capacity: Batch sizes of 3-15 barrels (BBLs)

Degree of Automation: Manual, semi-automatic, or fully automated systems

Budget: Equipment costs ranging from $50,000 to $500,000+

Production Goals: Focus on core beers vs experimentation with specialty recipes

Space Requirements: Floorspace, height, layout to accommodate equipment

Quality and Durability: Stainless steel construction for food-grade production and longevity

Customization: Flexibility to get equipment customized to specific needs

Installation and Maintenance: Service contracts for setup, calibration, cleaning etc.

commercial microbrewery equipment
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Commercial Microbrewery Equipment Guide

The essential equipment in a microbrewery fall into four main categories:

Equipment TypeFunctions
Mashing EquipmentMix milled grains with hot water to extract sugars
Boiling KettleBoil mash extract with hops to produce wort
Fermentation TanksFerment wort with yeast to produce beer
Serving TanksStore, carbonate, serve finished beer

Additional equipment like mills, filters, bottling lines may be needed depending on business model.

Overview of the Brewing Process

The typical brewing process involves:

  1. Milling malted barley and other grains
  2. Mixing crushed grains with hot water in the mash tun
  3. Separating sweet wort from spent grains
  4. Boiling wort with hops in the brewkettle
  5. Cooling boiled wort and transferring to fermenter
  6. Adding yeast for fermentation
  7. Maturing beer in serving tanks
  8. Packaging finished beer into kegs, bottles or cans

Types of Commercial Microbrewery Equipment

EquipmentDetails
Mash Tun/Lauter TunStainless steel vessel to mash grains.
Sizes from 3-15 BBL.
Insulated, steam-jacketed.
Brew KettlesStainless steel vessel to boil wort.
Direct or indirect heat.
Sizes from 3-15 BBL.
Fermentation TanksStainless steel tanks.
Cone bottom preferred.
CCT: Conditioning & Carbonating.
Serving TanksBrite tanks with glycol cooling jackets.
Pressure rated for carbonation & dispensing.
MillRoller or hammer mill to crush grains.
FilterPlate & frame to remove solids before fermentation.

Sizing Commercial Microbrewery Equipment

Choosing the right equipment sizes for a commercial microbrewery depends on business targets in terms of:

ParameterTypical Range
Batch Size3-15 barrels (BBL)
Annual Production500-5000 BBLs
Fermentation Tanks2-4 times number of BBL
Serving Tanks50-100% of fermentation capacity
Brewhouse Size20-100% of fermentation volume

Design & Layout of Commercial Microbrewery

Efficient layout and workflow design ensures:

  • Logical process flow from raw materials to packaged product
  • Easy movement pathways between equipment
  • Room for expansion with additional tanks
  • Compliance with plumbing, wiring, safety, building codes

Both linear layouts and concentric designs can achieve these goals with the right floorplan and equipment sizes customized to available space.

Customization of Commercial Microbrewery Equipment

It helps to find a supplier-installer who provides:

Customization Options

Customization RequirementsDescription
Type of Brewing EquipmentChoose the type of brewing equipment to be customized, such as fermentation tanks, distillation units, cooling systems, etc.
Equipment SpecificationsSpecify the capacity, dimensions, and performance requirements of the equipment.
Material OptionsSelect the materials to be used for manufacturing the equipment, such as stainless steel, copper, etc.
Heating and Cooling MethodDetermine the type of heating and cooling systems, such as electric heating, steam heating, cooling chambers, etc.
Control SystemChoose the control system, including the level of automation and monitoring options.
Equipment Accessories and OptionsAdd any additional accessories or options, such as agitators, filters, storage tanks, etc.
Exterior CustomizationSpecify exterior customization options, such as color, logos, or decorations.
Safety and Compliance RequirementsSpecify the safety standards and regulations that the equipment needs to comply with.
Production Capacity RequirementsDetermine the equipment’s production capacity per hour/day.
Delivery and Installation ServicesDetermine whether manufacturer-provided delivery and installation services are needed.
Budget and Time RequirementsSpecify the budget range and delivery schedule.

Suppliers & Price Range of Microbrewery Equipment

EquipmentKey SuppliersPrice Range
Mash TunRolec, Psycho Brew, Ss Brewtech$8,000 – $60,000
Brew KettleRolec, Psycho Brew, Ss Brewtech$10,000 – $100,000
Fermentation TanksRolec, Psycho Brew, Ss Brewtech$3,000 – $15,000 each
Serving TanksRolec, Psycho Brew, Ss Brewtech$3,000 – $10,000 each
Brewhouse SystemSpecific Systems, Psycho Brew, Premier Stainless$50,000 – $500,000+
FiltersMeura, GEA$10,000 to $100,000
MillsSchmidling, Monster Mills, Cereal Killer$1,000 – $7,000

Installation, Operation & Maintenance

Proper installation, operation and maintenance ensures efficiency, consistency and longevity.

ActivityDetails
InstallationPerformed by equipment supplier or contracting brewer.
Includes assembly, calibrating sensors, wiring, plumbing, testing.
OperationStandard operating procedures and logs for each batch.
Monitoring CIP and fermentation.
Safety checks and risk management.
MaintenancePreventative maintenance as per manuals.
Annual servicing contracts.
Recordkeeping.

How to Select a Reliable Microbrewery Equipment Supplier

CriteriaBest Practices
Track RecordYears in business. Number of systems installed. Brewery customer references.
OfferingsRange of equipment sizes and configurations. Customization services.
QualityUse of food-grade stainless steel. Welding standards. Attention to detail.
SupportInstallation, testing, maintenance, and repair services. Availability of manuals, parts, consumables.
Customer ServiceResponsiveness to inquiries. Flexibility to modify orders. Post-sale technical support.

Pros, Cons & Limitations of Commercial Microbrewery Equipment

ConsiderationsProsCons
Manual vs AutomatedLower upfront cost
More hands-on control
Labor intensive
Less consistency
New vs UsedPurpose-built
Warranty support
Higher price tag
Limited inventory
Turnkey SystemsAll equipment matched and sized
Single supplier accountability
Less customization flexibility
Higher cost
Volume FlexibilityDifficult to accommodate very large or small batch sizesFixed equipment sizes constrain output scalability
commercial microbrewery equipment

FAQ

What volume of beer can a 3-barrel brewhouse produce annually?

  • A 3-barrel brewhouse can produce 500-1000 barrels annually running 1-2 batches per day. Actual output depends on fermentation tank capacity and packaging line throughput as well.

How much space is needed for a 7-barrel microbrewery?

  • Around 2500-3000 sq ft is recommended for a 7 BBL microbrewery including the brewhouse, fermentation room, dry storage, serving tanks, and packaging area. The specific layout and footprint depends on the equipment configuration.

What does a basic 3-barrel startup brewery cost?

  • The brewhouse and fermentation equipment for a basic 3 BBL microbrewery would cost $80,000 to $150,000. Additional costs include building, plumbing, electrical, safety systems, licensing, labour and packaging equipment.

Should I buy new or used microbrewery equipment?

  • Both options have tradeoffs. Buying new purpose-built equipment allows customization but costs more. Used equipment saves money upfront but may need repairs or replacement sooner. Evaluate quality, warranty and included services carefully when deciding.

How are microbrewery equipment costs broken down?

  • Typical microbrewery equipment expenses include 30-50% on the brewhouse system, 30% on fermentation tanks, 10% on serving tanks, 5% on the grain milling and wort filter, and the remainder on small parts, plumbing, automation etc.

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