**Latest update: Jan 2021**
Breweries around the world come in different sizes and types. Some are big while some are operating on a small level. Their operations, cost, and revenues depend on their size mainly. Let’s say a microbrewery would fit only in one room and all procedures will be handled by only one person. As for a large commercial multinational brewery, they will have many employees working in different departments. Each department in this brewery will be dedicated to one type of operations and the employees working in that particular department will make sure their operations get done for their phase only. Despite the variability in size, the basic biochemical process is the same for beer brewing.
Recently, before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people from different backgrounds have been establishing large breweries in their towns enjoying the low interest rates at the banks. These are not as big as the multinational brewing companies, but they certainly have made their cut in nearby bars and pubs.
If you are thinking to establish a large brewery in your area then you need to buy commercial brewing equipment because large brewery need to handle different scale of operation. But how much does commercial brewery equipment cost?
*We haven’t blogged yet about microbrewery equipment cost so if you are interested to know how much new or used microbrewery equipment cost or will cost you, feel free to ask our sales reps, or alternatively visit our microbrewery equipment page for more info.
Basic factors that affect brewing equipment cost
3 basic factors affect brewing equipment cost in 2021, which includes:
- What kind of brewery equipment material you use?
- Do you take brand new brewery equipment or second hand?
- What is the size of your brewery?
Brewery equipment material:
Let’s talk about the 1st factor which is brewery equipment material. Just like in a kitchen, we have utensils of different materials, like we have glass, china clay, stainless steel, and nonstick utensils for different purposes, the same way, a brewery has kettles made from either copper or stainless-steel material.
- Copper brewery equipment: Copper brewery equipment has been used in beer brewing for centuries because of its properties. It transfers heat quickly and evenly in the kettle to boil the wort. Traditionally, people started off making beer in copper utensils because it is highly desirable for boiling wort at high temperatures.
But copper tends to react with other chemicals easily and give a metallic taste in beer. Also, different cleaning and sanitization processes can change the color of beer made in copper kettles. Copper is a way cheaper option in comparison to stainless-steel.
- Stainless-steel brewery equipment: In the modern world where we are all about the end product, all big commercial breweries use stainless-steel brewery equipment in the modern times.. Although the kettles used in there are not completely made of stainless steel, they have copper cladding on each kettle to ensure the traditional appearance, but it doesn’t interfere with the taste unless it’s the bleach.
Stainless-steel material doesn’t actively react with chemicals, but it tends to react with chlorine, so proper sanitization won’t affect the quality of beer made in stainless-steel brewing equipment. Also, stainless-steel is a stronger material than copper, so it doesn’t get pressurized when worts are boiled at high temperatures. Stainless-steel is expensive but it will be a durable choice in a brewery.
New or secondhand brewery equipment:
The cost of commercial brewery equipment also depends on whether you buy the new equipment or used brewery equipment for your startup. The new equipment will be expensive than the secondhand equipment, of course, but it won’t affect your brewing at all if your used commercial brewing equipment is in good shape (make sure you check it before paying that guy from craiglist). Despite the copper and stainless-steel boilers and kettles, major equipment in a commercial beer brewing systems includes the following.
- Fermentation tanks: Fermentation is the next step after your wort is been boiled. Fermentation tanks hold the wort while yeast converts into sugar in the wort along with alcohol and carbon dioxide. They usually have a cone-shaped bottom. The jacketed fermenter is best in use, A ½ bb non-jacketed cost about $400 and jacketed fermenter of 1 bb can cost you $3,200
- Kegs: Kegs are important because you need to store beer in a keg before moving it into the bottles or cans. A ½ bbl. The keg is the most common size, it cost you $125 and buying them in a bulk will get you discount. They need to be washed properly so you will need a keg washer which comes under $300.
Other equipment include refrigerators, bottling, filters, and cleaning supplies.
Size of your brewery:
The size of the brewery is a major factor in determining the cost of commercial brewery equipment. If you have a larger operation going on, you will be needing the bigger equipment and bigger brewhouse. A brewhouse features a mash mixer, hot liquor tank, whirlpool, boiling kettle, and lauter tun. Usually, the capacity of the brewhouse is determined in barrels (bbl.) unit. Different companies like us manufacture the brewhouse in different barrel capacities depending on the client’s needs. The retail prices of brewhouses are also different from size to size. The smallest brewhouse costs about $50,000.
Cost of commercial brewing startup:
Depending on your brewery size, acquiring a license and buying the good quality commercial brewing equipment, we can roughly estimate that it can go from $100,000 to $1million easily. Again, this is only a ballpark figure. For a person who is new to this brewing, the microbrewery option is far better. It is slightly smaller, but you will oversee everything in your own space. You can produce less than 15,000 barrels and 75 % of beer will be sold offsite. It will be a commercial venture and you can buy all the commercial equipment for a microbrewery in less than $100,000. The small equipment will take less space in the house. This will save you some major real estate costs and tax amounts. Your license cost will certainly get reduced. The further plumbing, electrical works, and flooring cost will eventually reduce because you are renting a small space. Day to day operation will be easy to handle, you can take a few employees to help you out as well.
Finally, starting your brewery is an expensive and challenging task, you need to be committed and have a plan to manage the hurdles on the way. But good business always flourishes so hope for the best.