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Thread: shared use breweries?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    shared use breweries?

    There's a neat concept here in Chicago called "shared use kitchens" where people can use a professionally equipped kitchen to get their food business off the ground without having to invest in kitchen equipment and space. maybe I'm crazy, but why couldn't this concept be extended to breweries? below is the link to test kitchen I'm referring to:

    http://www.kitchenchicago.com/

  2. #2
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    Sep 2010
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    A similar concept does exist in the brewing world, it's called an Alternating Proprietorship. Seems like it's becoming a popular thing for upstarts who don't have the capital yet to build their own brewery but don't want to do contract brewing.
    Last edited by Chaz; 05-06-2012 at 12:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    First thing I can think of is that a brewery should use all of their equipment (nearly) every day. If you have time on equipment to share, then you aren't using the equipment properly. On the other hand, there are brew-your-own brewing studios where homebrewers can use "professional" equipment. That didn't pan out as well as some folks thought twenty years ago. Another thing is that there just isn't a standard brewery. For example, I prefer a 3 vessel brewery over the standard US 2 vessel issue. Grant? No thank you. Hopback? Yes please. And a third thing is the incredible licensing and legal issues. Permits, insurance, taxes, liability..... So it doesn't seem feasible to me. Then again, I wouldn't have thought that a mobile canning operation would gain any traction.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--
    Worldwide Brewery Installations
    www.GitcheGumeeBreweryServices.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz
    A similar concept does exist in the brewing world, it's called an Alternating Proprietorship. Seems like it's becoming a popular thing for upstarts who don't have the capital yet to build their own brewery but don't want to do contract brewing.
    This sounds a lot like what I was thinking. I need to look into this some more. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gitchegumee
    First thing I can think of is that a brewery should use all of their equipment (nearly) every day. If you have time on equipment to share, then you aren't using the equipment properly. On the other hand, there are brew-your-own brewing studios where homebrewers can use "professional" equipment. That didn't pan out as well as some folks thought twenty years ago. Another thing is that there just isn't a standard brewery. For example, I prefer a 3 vessel brewery over the standard US 2 vessel issue. Grant? No thank you. Hopback? Yes please. And a third thing is the incredible licensing and legal issues. Permits, insurance, taxes, liability..... So it doesn't seem feasible to me. Then again, I wouldn't have thought that a mobile canning operation would gain any traction.
    I agree about your opinion of keeping down time of equipment to an absolute minimum. Basically, if the equipment isn't doing its thing then its not earning its 'keep'. However, I'm thinking that if you were to charge accordingly (that is a premium of some kind to allow the equipment to earn its keep) then you wouldn't have to worry about the equipment not being in constant use. I believe aspiring brewery owners would pay this premium to be able to legally brew, package and sell their product without having to deal with the huge upfront investment in equipment. I obviously don't have all of the details but it sounds like it could work. Thoughts?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmason1623
    I agree about your opinion of keeping down time of equipment to an absolute minimum. Basically, if the equipment isn't doing its thing then its not earning its 'keep'. However, I'm thinking that if you were to charge accordingly (that is a premium of some kind to allow the equipment to earn its keep) then you wouldn't have to worry about the equipment not being in constant use. I believe aspiring brewery owners would pay this premium to be able to legally brew, package and sell their product without having to deal with the huge upfront investment in equipment. I obviously don't have all of the details but it sounds like it could work. Thoughts?
    Homebrewer gone Pro Jamil Zainasheff recently has done some "Going Pro" podcasts discussing issues he's had with opening/running his brewery (Heretic) which is in an alternating proprietorship (starting with the "Opening A Brewery 1" podcast) and they are working towards opening their own brewery in the future.

    I know of a few breweries that do it and I think it's a viable path if you can find someone with excess room for you, have a setup you that like, they brew good beer already (meaning you don't have to worry about working in a dirty, unsanitary environment), are flexible and are interested in the arrangement.

    The guys I know who do it said they work out a rotating shift with the brewery. One week they have nights, one week mornings and it seems to work out well. There's some extra paperwork involved but it didn't sound too intensive, like tracking their own power/water usage. He said the biggest problem is actually their success, they're growing faster than they expected which is causing capacity issues so they've been buying and adding their own extra fermentors but have had issues negotiating extra time so they can fill them. Part of that is they are outpacing the growth of the other brewery and they think the owner is a little bit jealous of their success... Like they'll try to arrange extra time in the brewery when they know it probably won't be in use by talking with the brewer but they ask the owner and he says no, that they'll be using the time... So they're looking to fast track to a new brewery within 3 years instead of 5 now. Depending on your arrangement it could be good, but there are always downsides to every plan, even owning your own brewery.
    Last edited by Chaz; 05-06-2012 at 01:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2012
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    I know Skull Coast, North Carolina did an Alternating Propretiorship by reading their blog. I think they said they purchased their own Unitank and parked it in another brewery.
    Great blog, and great graphics, by the way. They are now building their own brewery with tanks from Germany.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Bemidji Brewing Company

    There is a small startup nanobrewery in northern MN that is actually setting up shop in a community kitchen as you mention.

    Check them out.

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