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budgeting - man hours per barrel?

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  • budgeting - man hours per barrel?

    We're about a year into our production brewing, and my partner and I, who are both owners, are about to have to take on an employee or two to keep up with demand.

    My problem is, I have no idea where to start budgeting labor into my variable costs. Right now we both 'work' for free and haven't really kept track of hours, and just take our distributions from the company. Does anybody have recommendations on a starting point for a small 1000 bbl/yr setup?


    - Jonathan

  • #2
    40 man hours per batch is a number I remember from a past thread on here. That does not included distribution.


    • #3
      we need 1 ft employee per 1000 bbl production. we have a 20bbl 3-vessel brewhouse. we did about 4000 bbl last year, we had one head brewer, one brewer, and two cellarmen.

      we are probably going to be at 5000 bbl this year and are adding a warehouse man.

      There are many variables as far as brewhouse size, efficiency of the operation,etc.




      • #4
        1 fte/1000BBL is the rule of thumb if you have at least a 15BBL system or up. Most everyone I know dose 1000BBLs a year by them self for at least one year as a badge of honor. After that if you want to have a life a pte 20-30hr is nice to have and one fte would be even better giving you time to concentrate on growing the business.




        • #5
          Value Chain Analysis

          Congrats on your growth!

          Times like these are when small companies should take a close look at their operations from a big picture prospective. Using "rules of thumb" and others estimations require you to accept others basic assumptions, which could be very different from your reality. The quickest road to a belly-up businesses are wrong assumptions when making decisions.

          I would suggest a value chain analysis of your business, and more specifically your operations and supply chain. This analysis will provide you with the critical information necessary for you to understand the unrecognized complexities of your process, the value added activities and the activities that add no value to your product and customers. It isn't the known instances that cause the most problems, it is the unknowns.

          A critical analysis will give you a basis for developing a growth strategy as well. Knowing, empirically, your resource allocation will allow you to better react to the ever changing business environment.

          What you do now can weight heavily on your future success. Knowledge is leverage; the more you know, the larger the success you can experience.

          If you would like a little guidance, feel free to shoot me a message.


          Bill Bensing
          Last edited by BensingBrewery; 03-16-2011, 04:54 AM.
          Cheers, Santé, Prost, Ching-ching...which ever language you may speak!

          To know more about me, visit my professional website:


          • #6
            Originally posted by chattabrew
            Right now we both 'work' for free and haven't really kept track of hours
            You should obviously start doing that. each brewery is different. Brewlength is a very large influencer on labour. So are other elements of design. How easy are your tanks to clean, how long do transfers, filtrations etc take? And many others I'm sure you're becoming familiar with. Try keeping a log related to each brew for a few weeks. You'll land on a reasonable number rapidly.

            30-40 man hours per batch seems reasonable to me but might not to you.

            A certain amount of labour, we view as a fixed cost. It takes a certain amount of crew to sail the boat, regardless of the speed and direction.


            Liam McKenna


            • #7
              Thanks for all the feedback!

              We're going to start tracking hours better, as recommended. We've estimated that we have at least 24 man hours in a 7bbl batch, including brewing, harvesting, filtering + carbing, cleaning + filling kegs.

              We're leaving distribution and all 'overhead' jobs (accounting/taxes, marketing, etc.) out for now, because they don't exactly correlate with how much we produce, we just need to know how much outside labor we'll be paying for in each batch.

              Thanks again guys!