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Labor Expectations?

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  • Labor Expectations?

    Does anyone who have an operating brewpub that might be able to help me with this? I am planning a 15bbl brewpub and am trying to anticipate how much hourly labor will be needed in a brewhouse running about 2 batches a week. I will a brewer on salary. What I am trying to determine is how much labor the assist. brewer is going to be. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • #2
    what is it that YOU plan on doing with this new brew pub?

    2 (15) bbl brews a week isn't that much of a task--even if it is a 7 bbl system....

    If you have 4 (15) bbl fermentors. 2 (15) bbl bright tanks and a "float" of about 40 kegs you can filter while you double brew. Clean the FV while you brew. and be on 2 week cycles, 3 or four for lagers... Hopefully its a well engineered system and you have some know how, otherwise--its a hard industry to screw up the first few batches on and recover....

    you will need a hot water tank and a cold water tank to really make it tick. A semi automated keg washer. And if you are the type that's saying "I don't have the money for that...", well, for $15,000 extra now, it will save you $40,000 in labor over two years...

    When Mark and I first started brewing in 1999 we were on a 10 bbl mash/kettle combo system with a 15 bbl HLT and CLT. We had (6) 20 bbl fvs and (3) 20 bbl brights. We had a DE Filter and a meheen bottling line.

    I would come in on a tuesday at 5 am and begin filtering beer we made the 13 and 14 days earlier (ales). For lagers either 3 or 4 weeks earlier. If it was 60 bbls of the same type, we would blend all 3 of the 20 bbl FV's together into the 3 bright tanks. During the 20-40 bbl filtration, I would prep the brew ahead (heat water, mill in etc). After I topped up the 2nd bright tank with filtered beer and switched everything to the third tank, I would begin mashing in while filtering bbl 40-60. Then I would get all three FV's hooked together and CIP them all at the same time (will take lots of extra hoses and t's etc...)-also begin carbonating the FVs. During this time I would clean out the first 10 bbl mash and begin boil on first 10 bbl kettle. I would clean and add the proper yeast to all three of the FVs right before the first 10 bbl heat exchange (usually by 3 pm or so). Once the heat exchange was going, I would begin second mash. first 10 bbl heat exchange would be done, rinse kettle, begin lauter. Then I would clean the filter. By 8 pm, second kettle would be topped up. I would set hoses to keg washer and start first cycle. My business partner Mark would then come in and brew/keg beer from 8 pm-8 am. I would come back at 8 am till 6 pm. From Tuesday am till wednesday pm we would filter, carbonate, keg 60 bbls of beer. we would also brew 60 bbls of beer. On a 10 bbl system. We did all our own lab work. And every other week we would bottle on a meheen all day thursday (500 cases). Two brewers. 2800 bbls a year. on a 10 bbl system that included bottling....
    Last edited by dereknobleluke; 09-27-2012, 04:33 PM.


    • #3
      Much depends on how you will serve the beer. Brite tanks or kegs or a combo? Any outside sales or all in house? I used to do 1000 Bbls on a 15 Bbl brewhouse all in house. 4 30 Bbl ferms 2 15 Bbl ferms and 3 15 Bbl brites and 2 30 Bbl brites. 8-9 beers on tap all in house. Having enough serving tanks eliminates a lot of labor otherwise spent filling and cleaning kegs. I pulled it off because I had lots of tanks. I still had to do a fair share of kegging as we also had another keg only bar in the casino as well as a keg only bar in the brewpub for weekend business. Also a nice automated keg washer will save alot of labor. Having enough Hot liquor to double batch also would help.


      • #4
        We will have six serving tanks behind the bar. Should have two 30bbl ferms and two 15bbl ferms as well as a 15bbl brite. We will have the ability to expand with an additional two 30s at some point in the future. I'd like to have 6-8 beers on tap. Some core products and then some one offs or seasonals. We'll be kegging too, but probably at first only to make room in the serving tanks for new batches. I think I can do the majority of the work myself but will need to have some assistant in there to help out. Just wondering how much labor i will have to allocate to the assistant.
        Last edited by brothersbrewing; 09-28-2012, 08:15 AM.


        • #5
          A Qualified Brewer should easily be able to brew 2 batches a week and do all the necessary work that goes along with that (filtering, cleaning kegs, etc.) and still have time left over in a 40 hr week.

          David Schlosser
          Brewmaster / Founder
          Naked Dove Brewing Company
          Canandaigua, NY


          • #6
            Probably comes down to what you are willing to pay and what the minimum hours/days a week a decent assistant is willing to work. Its always nice to have someone else who can take over when you are out or busy with something unexpected. With your setup its a one man job. Though if you have never brewed professionally that changes things and you will also have a harder time training someone.


            • #7
              Has anyone thought that maybe a 15bbl setup is too large for a 150 seat restaurant? If we are busy we can expand to seat over 200. Wondering if better idea to start with 10bbl system and have four 15bb. ferms? Could then use the six serving tanks. Might be able to do more specialty beers. Perhaps 15bbl is overkill?


              • #8
                I'd say that depends on whether your business plan is to have a standard lineup of beers or plan to have an evolving set of offerings -- some of which may be more popular than others.

                Personally, I don't know if the difference in cost between a 10bbl and 15bbl brewhouse is worth fretting over. Better to oversize, and worst case, a 15bbl brewhouse will likely be considered more valuable if you fold and need to sell the equipment.
                Kevin Shertz
                Chester River Brewing Company
                Chestertown, MD


                • #9
                  15 barrels sounds like over-kill for a brewpub, ideal for a brewery. We started out as a brewpub with a 5 barrel system. For about a year we brewed about 4 batches a month. We served out of our 4 brite tanks and growlers were not available for sale.

                  One person should be able to handle all the duties. I would recommend hiring someone for restaurant duties and slowly start to train them with cleaning duties (kegs, tanks, etc.).
                  Keegan Malone
                  Pinglehead Brewery


                  • #10
                    I'd like to have 6-8 beers on tap from our tanks in the walk in. Figured we would fill kegs once the tanks began to run low. The restaurant will take up the majority of the labor. We will probably have about 20 people working in there to start. There is not going to be room for canning or bottling down the road so if we needed to expand to meet that demand it would have to be out of a new building/brewhouse. To start I think we will sell a good amount of growlers and then maybe kegs but space will be tight. All depends on the demand though. This will be one of the biggest restaurants in town.


                    • #11
                      personally I love the growth aspect. But people are always talking about "when we expand". There are 1200 more licensed breweries coming this year. There were 350 that came on last year. This is an incredibly challenging industry, and if you are not well financed, have zero experience, or don't have a large backer or venture capitol it is a money loser for you. Only a lucky few have made it without those credientials....

                      having said that, we bought a brewpub that had gone out of business in an awesome restaurant area. had nationally known great beer. And they were a 10 bbl mash/kettle into 20 bbl bright tanks. they used the equipment for 2 years, only put 55 brews through it, and we bought it for like $0.35 on the dollar.

                      So, watch your money, but get a well engineered system for it. Always have FVs that can be double batched into. So a 5 bbl mash/kettle into 10 bbl tanks. Or 7 bbl into 14 bbl fvs. In the beginning you will be single brewing. Work on recipes. Tweak things. Try to work on efficiency from the start.

                      Hopefully you make it past two years. The bummer is that sometimes I know folks that have made it 8 years and are barely squeakin by. they pay the bills and the owners pull about 45-50K a year, but they are there about 90 hours a week. Luckily they are still happy they are in the industry, but growth isn't an option and expansion--well they have no reason to expand...


                      • #12
                        if you are planning 20 people for restaurant then I wouldn't figure in for a separate assistant. find one or two of your staff that are really interested in brewing and tap them for help when you need it. as others stated here one person can do allot, but you cant be afraid to work hard. If so hire someone else as the brewer.