View Full Version : A few brewpub startup questions

07-13-2006, 12:43 AM
I'm new here. This is an amazing place for discussions and research. Everyone rocks for contributing to helping others learn. Thanks.

I just had a few questions regarding research for starting a brewpub. Does anyone know of a resource where I can research the following? Or does anyone have any thoughts about this?

I have a space that has approximately 5300 sq/ft of open space and 2300 sq/ft basement/storage. I would put all the brewing equipment in the basement, which leaves the open space for offices, kitchen, restrooms, etc....

1) Of that 5300 sq/ft, how much should be dedicated to kitchen space? The rest of the space would be for bars/tables and eating space/office space, etc. I'm trying to figure out how many seats I'll be able to accomodate, so I can calculte bbl/seat, revenue per seat, etc....

2) Is there a general recommendation somewhere that says if I have a room that's say, 30x30. i can fit X amount of people comfortably sitting at tables? This way I can figure out the exact open space and how many people I can fit. Or even more general - you can put 1 person per X amt of square feet. Then I'll know how much beer to produce, etc....

I hope this make sense. the ambien is kicking in :)

any advice or a direction where you can point me would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

07-13-2006, 07:33 AM
Around here capacity is determined my our local fire mashal, so I would ask them to be sure
Ours is 7 sq/ft/person STANDING areas and 15 sq/ft/person SITTING areas minus paths of egress, providing you also have enough egress routes and short paths of egress

If you are still in planing stages, invite your fire marshal over to discuss the issues he will be considering and you can get a better idea how to get the most rated capacity from the spaces you intend to build, ours was very helpful, the more emergency exits the better, there are rules on how far a patron would need to go to exit in an emergency, and how many people can be allocated to that exit in should an emergency arrise

07-13-2006, 08:29 AM
Before you locate the brewery to the basement, plan how you will get raw ingredients down and many hundred pounds of spent grain up. Also, if your serving tanks/kegs will be in the basement, hire a professional draft installer to design your system.

KY building code states; means of egress/emergency exits can be spaced no further apart than half the length of the longest diagonal measurement of a room. So do invite your fire marshall and local builing inspecter prior to drawing up plans.

07-13-2006, 09:03 AM
thanks for the replies, guys. i will check in with the local fire marshall. right now there are offices in the space, so hopefully everything is up to code in respect to emergency exits, etc. i hadn't thought about the ingredients and grains, but perhaps there are steps leading outside that i missed.

i appreciate the responses.

07-13-2006, 09:53 AM
Steps will not work in most cases. You haven't mentioned brewery size yet. As an example: for 7 bbls. of beer you'll need 300 lbs. +- of malt for a 12 degree (average strength) beer. That malt will weigh considerably more at grains out and be hot and wet. How will you move the spent grain up-stairs? Also keep in mind dry malt storage area, cold hop and finished beer storage.

07-13-2006, 05:47 PM
one of the successful breweries in my area has their equipment downstairs in the basement. they shovel the grains into big plastic garbage cans and drag them out for a farmer to come pick them up. yeah, they end up with 4 or 5 garbage cans full and then drag them up steps and outside, but they were tight on space and had no choice. it would be a bummer, but if there aren't TONS of steps, it could work.

and i'm not sure of the size yet. i'm thinking 7 to 10bbl, but i'm still trying to figure out the number of seats we'll be able to get in there.

thanks for the reply.

07-14-2006, 12:31 AM
Too bad you won't be displaying some of your brewery for the guests to see on the first floor. Unless you have a glass-bottom floor that shows the brewery below, like a boat cruise - damn, that's a cool idea - you can call it "Brewer's Heaven" or more likely "Brewer's Hell" - I call dibs - then again, the upskirt possibilities will get you sued. I digress.

I agree with what's already been said, by our smart and handsome writers. Plus:
- Sounds like you don't have a brewer or chef on board. Get them, they will be invaluable in the planning process.
- Check out your local government websites, and you can usually find the main fire requirements, building requirements, etc.
- Check out similar restaurants. You can figure out square footage, and occupancy, and do the division.
- Grab a piece of constuction paper, or Photoshop, and start moving elements around (bathroom, tables, chairs, waitstaff areas, bar, kitchen equipment, etc.). It will give you a rough idea until you get more professional advice from the fire marshall, engineer, architect, etc.
- Avoid steps for moving malt bags, spent grain, etc. Maybe there's space for a mini-elevator. Alternatively, hire a 'keg boy' you don't like - or hire a doctor who specializes in back and leg pain.
- Have fun. Lots of it.


07-14-2006, 09:02 AM
excellent advice, Caller. i do plan on consulting a chef and a brewer. and i am also very much considering talking to a company that installs the stuff and consults throught the setup process, like Sound Brewing Systems. the problem is that someone else has a letter of intent in with the management company to lease that same space. and they're in that space right now, so i can't just bring people thru. i have to wait and go thru the mgmt company. but i certainly do plan on bringing in as many people as i can for advice.

buy great advice. thanks for your input...

09-13-2006, 07:23 PM
get a small freight elevator for the basement - man, this space is pretty huge, how many bbls/year, and how many seats do you plan on?

I would say factor in no more than 1/3 for the kitchen+functional space for that space - i've got 600 sf. factored in for a seating space of 1500, and around 900 for the brewery area. But as the space gets larger, the ratios definitely shift towards the seating - just my experience from working on restaurant projects.