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Blu Dragonly
02-15-2018, 06:11 PM
I also posted over on BA as I'm seeking anyone who can answer to the legalities of this.

We have signed a lease on a +/- 1400 square foot commercial kitchen equipped space with a bar and dining area with an equal size outdoor courtyard area as well as additional space in the lot immediately behind the restaurant space to open a brew pub. Our original plan called for outfitting the rear prep room for a 2bbl electric system and 2bbl cellar equipment. In the meantime, I came across a 3bbl gas fired complete brewhouse and have placed a deposit on three 3bbl unis.

Since we ended up with gas fired equipment, it just so happens there is a 144″ x 50″ fully functional vent hood along with gas connections in the existing commercial kitchen space with an overhead height which will still allow for adequate space to access the tops of the HLT, MLT, and BK.

The idea is to use the rear prep area as more of a catering kitchen and our primary food product will be BBQ so it is possible to do an outdoor kitchen area for the BBQ or simply purchase a food trailer or truck and place it in the rear lot. We are planning on placing a couple of shipping containers for dry storage and grain storage on the rear lot. It did bring about the idea that instead of brewing inside the brewpub building and putting down a couple of 20′ conex boxes for dry storage and grain storage, why not drop two 40′ conex boxes and install the brewhouse and cellar tanks in one of them?

I have searched all over the internet and cannot find many references to shipping container brewhouses other than in Europe. There are photos of a container at Helix Brewing in California, but this appears to be more of a grain-handling room for the main brewhouse.

I cannot seem to find anything in the Federal code (so far) nor the state codes of New Mexico regarding this. As long as a container is lagged to the ground and is on the platted property of the space we leased, I cannot find a reason this is not possible which is why Im asking if anyone else has attempted or successfully done this or if there is a specific reason this would not be allowed.

I do have a good deal of experience with conex boxes as Ive worked for a boiler company for 13+ years and we have done many boiler installations in conex boxes and I also operate an eBay sales business from another couple of containers on our property. Getting the structure itself to conform to mechanical and construction codes is not difficult. The floor can be pitched quite simply to a drain in one of the corners and we have access to water, sewer, gas, and electric all in reasonable proximity to to where we could put the brewery container down. Ive also seen breweries in unusual places like one in a 300 square foot log cabin on a private ranch here in northern NMyes it is a fully licensed commercial brewery.

Id really love to hear input from others. Shipping containers can be an economical method of construction. If we still lived in a large metro area, certainly there would be more ideal spaces available to get everything under one roof but when you live in a small village there are fewer options available for commercial spaces.

brain medicine
02-21-2018, 10:28 AM
dont see why the Feds would care, just has to be securable so no one steals your beer or their taxes before it hits the tax determined tanks. you're obviously setting yourself up for an issue if you grow, but not that big a deal with planning in future.

you're gonna need quite a bit of mechanical for make up air and exhaust, thats a small space. ceiling height isnt great either. maybe weld the "hood" into the top of the container? or maybe it wont even be required if you put food grade surfaces (stainless, FRP, etc) on the walls/ceiling and just vent the entire box?

not sure if it will help you but have you thought of the refrigerator boxes? if i recall, they have alot of stainless already on the inside. maybe back a reefer box to your brewhouse and pump directly from kettle to fermenters. another box to hold your brites.

as long as you place them in correct alignment i think it could work really well. sounds like you have the room to lay everything out easily.

i agree, dont think the feds will care. state/local may be another issue though. couldnt hurt to do some basic drawings and see what they think.

Blu Dragonly
02-21-2018, 07:37 PM
Thank you for your input. I actually started looking closer at reefer containers after I wrote the original post. A 40' high cube gives you just under 8' inside ceiling height, smooth walls, and they use t-track or other metal configurations for flooring. There are specific ASME calculations for combustion air requirements per BTU so figuring the inlet air is not difficult, you can do an interlock on the dampers with your burner(s) to make sure you have adequate inlet air. CO will take care of itself with properly constructed exhaust vents from the kettles and either a steam condenser or steam vent through the roof or side. You can also interlock a power vent with a CO2 monitor to keep the CO2 levels from getting dangerous. In our case, we already have a gas fired system, but this would be an ideal solution for small electric breweries, you would need a steam vent and a way to vent CO2 and a small amount of make up air to help with that evacuation. It's the same issue we have when we put a boiler in a container: water in, sewer out, electric in, air in, burnt fuel out, gas if gas fired. It cuts construction costs considerably.

Whitewall
03-01-2018, 10:29 AM
Thank you for your input. I actually started looking closer at reefer containers after I wrote the original post. A 40' high cube gives you just under 8' inside ceiling height, smooth walls, and they use t-track or other metal configurations for flooring. There are specific ASME calculations for combustion air requirements per BTU so figuring the inlet air is not difficult, you can do an interlock on the dampers with your burner(s) to make sure you have adequate inlet air. CO will take care of itself with properly constructed exhaust vents from the kettles and either a steam condenser or steam vent through the roof or side. You can also interlock a power vent with a CO2 monitor to keep the CO2 levels from getting dangerous. In our case, we already have a gas fired system, but this would be an ideal solution for small electric breweries, you would need a steam vent and a way to vent CO2 and a small amount of make up air to help with that evacuation. It's the same issue we have when we put a boiler in a container: water in, sewer out, electric in, air in, burnt fuel out, gas if gas fired. It cuts construction costs considerably.

Check out and contact Stones Throw Brewing in Bellingham Wa. They built there whole brewery out of containers. Cool dudes as well.
-Cheers

pc2cr
04-01-2018, 07:17 PM
Check out 40ft brewing in London or Bri Bri Springs in Costa Rica. This has been done time and time again.

Blu Dragonly
04-02-2018, 07:19 AM
Check out 40ft brewing in London or Bri Bri Springs in Costa Rica. This has been done time and time again.

That is correct, it's not a matter of whether or not it can physically be done, it's a matter of anyone knowing if that will pass muster with the TTB and/or state authorities.

brain medicine
04-03-2018, 07:08 AM
If stone sthrow got it approved dont see why you cant. Again, i think ttb is mostly concerned about security for taxes. State licensing usually follows federal approval, so its the local building and health who are the wild card.