Sizing cold room
How does one go about determining size of your walk-in cooler in a "production" brewery?
We're looking at a maximum output of about 15,000 bbls, roughly 1/2 cans and 1/2 kegs. No pasteurization or sterile filtering, so keeping beer cold would be essential, but of course we'd ideally ship out finished beer in short order.
I am sizing mine to hold 2 weeks of inventory. My distribution area is compact as I am in a dense urban area and 90% of my customers will be within 5 miles. I will be self distributing. If your distribution area is larger you might want to consider keeping more inventory. I've size my cooler to hold 2 weeks worth of inventory (bottles and kegs) for a 6000BBL/year projected output. My cooler will be 500sqft by 14 feet tall (to be able to double stack pallets). Following my approach you would need over 1000sqft.
500 sq feet too small
as a brewer at a little less than 6000 bbl/yr, 500 sq ft is too small. our cooler is 20 x 30 and we stack kegs four high, and pallets of 60 case two high.
it simply wasnt enough room.
we now rent an additional 1000 sq feet of cold storage off-site. it has helped a lot.
we are roughly 50/50 between beer self-distributed and sold to wholesalers.
Thanks for the comment and I am curious to hear more about your experience Sam, as we are still in the planning/demolition stage and I could still make changes (although I really don't have a lot more room available for the cooler. My cooler is actuallly going to be 8.5m x 7m by 4m tall so in reality that is closer to 600sqft but from what you are saying that still wouldn't be nearly enough size. I've planned the cooler to hold 50 pallets of product double stacked (kegs would actually be 4 high and bottles would be 2 high x 72 cases per pallet), which is equivalent to 2 weeks production at my estimated full capacity.
Originally Posted by redlodge.sam
If you are using nearly 1600sqft total space does that mean you are holding well over a month's worth of product in inventory? Do you think the fact that my distribution area is very compact would allow me to only hold the 2 week's worth, or do you think I am truly making a mistake on the size of the room? Thanks for your comments and advice.
To calculate the size of your cold room is not that simple, however I can help you if you provide me the following information, so I can determine the amount of wort that will be fermented and turned into beer:
1. Mashing Room
a. Volume of beer sales /month:
b. % Loss during process from cold wort to beer packaging:
c. Number of mashings per day:
d. Number of working days per month in your mashing room:
e. Volume capacity of Mash tun (BBL or HL):
Knowing this information, I can estimate the amount of wort that is fermented.
Is your maximum output of 15,000 BBL per year or per month?
2. Fermentation Room
a. Volume of beer sales / month:
b. Length of fermentation period: (14 days (Ales) or 21 days (Lagers))
c. % Loss of fermented beer
I suppose you ferment and mature your beer in Unitanks, please provide how many you have and the capacity (BBLS) of each.
If the fermentation process is in other fermentation vessels please indicate so I can make the corrections.
3. Maturation Room
If after completing the fermentation in your unitanks, do you transfer the beer to a Maturation tank or Brite Beer Tank, which I suppose is in a cold room?
a. Number of tanks:
b. Volume capacity of tanks:
c. Diameter of your tanks
Also, do you use a different tank to prepare your beer for filling the cans or kegs?
Knowing all this information I can figure how many tanks you can have and the amount of space they occupy in a cold room.
Later, then I need to consider the amount of space you need for the filled kegs and cans which will be determine by the:
a. Beer Sales
b. Frequency of the sales.
c. Volume capacity of Kegs or cans
d. Number of cans per box or kegs per pallet
e. Working days in a month
f. Number of days you keep your beer inventory in the cold room.
g. Space to move pallets with forklift or pallet truck.
Well, let see how it goes.
Please, send the requested information to my email address and include a telephone number to call you in case I have a question or doubt.
we have seven year round brews, four of which are bottled and usually have 1-2 seasonals going. this probably contributed to our need for more cold space.
Our best selling beer turns over an 80 bbl batch 3 times a month in the winter and once a week in the summer.
have you considered the forklift alley space needed in your cold room? forklifts need a 10-12 foot alley to manuever. if you have not factored this, you will need to tear all the finished product out of your cooler every day you deliver to access all of your beer and then put it back together in the evening. very time consuming.
In general, the more space you have for just about any aspect of your brewery, the better. I have outgrown every space i have occupied over 14 years way faster than i thought i would.
Thanks Sam. I have considered the forklift aisle which I am leaving 12 feet for. However, I am doing two pallets deep on either side of the aisle by 2 pallets high so i will have product covered by product but since my brewlength is 20HL which turns out to be about 3.5pallets worth of 330ml bottles I could cover with product from the same batch.
Originally Posted by redlodge.sam
I guess because you have a significant number of beers you are keeping quite a bit of inventory? If I can manage to keep my inventory down at 2 weeks at our full capacity then my cold room should be enough. I plan to brew 7 times per week at capacity which would be 49 pallets worth in 2 weeks which is exactly what I designed the room for. In any case, at 2 or 3 thousand HL before capacity I will be planning and building a second brewery so hopefully I won't have to run into the space problem.