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Contract Brewing until Tasting Room Open?

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  • Contract Brewing until Tasting Room Open?

    We are looking at a solid, used 7 Bbl Steam powered brewhouse with 6 Fermenters, 4 Brite Tanks, 8 Single Wall Serving Tanks, and 100 1/2 Bbl kegs.
    We can get licensing and production going in about 3 months at a new location.
    However, the tasting room is estimated to take an additional year and requires major renovation, updates and $$$ to be in compliance with codes and regulations.
    - County requires change of use application from manufacturing/warehouse to gathering/assembly and will take about 7 months for approval
    - Fire Department requires pavement to be replaced to hold their 40 ton firetruck
    - Fire Sprinklers will need to be installed
    - Parking lot needs to be expanded and ADA compliant
    - Bathrooms need more stalls and ADA bathroom added
    - Patio needs built
    - Updated HVAC, Lighting, Storefront, Flooring, etc...

    Obviously, we need more time and more money to get the Tasting room open... so we started brainstorming and looking at options.

    What do you guys think about us firing up the Brewhouse side and contract brewing for other breweries while we work on completing the tasting room?

    Obviously, we will have to pound-the-pavement to see if there is a demand in our area for a 7 Bbl Contract Brewer. We do not have canning equipment but plan to add in the future. We can brew, ferment, condition and transfer to their kegs. Based on our fermentation capacity, we can produce about 1,000 Bbl's maximum per year... which is more than we could ever sell in our taproom; therefore, we believe we could continue to offer contract brewing even after our tasting room is open.

    Also, any idea of the going-rate paid for contract brewing?


  • #2
    Contract Brewing can definitely be a viable option to help cover your overhead expenses and even bring in a little profit until opening your tasting room fully. Sounds like you have a pretty well sized set up for it too. I'd be curious the volumes of the tanks are that you would be batching into but if you are going into 7-20 bbl fermenters and brites, I am sure you could offer some good contracting rates and flexibility for either local breweries, or even better - local restaurants/bars/venues to private label, especially if self-distribution is an option in your state. I have a client here in CA I recently helped design their contract brewing program to utilize some excess capacity to do exactly this. Would be happy to schedule a call to have a discussion about how you can do the same. Feel free to reach out directly.

    Derek Wasak
    Plato Brewing and Consulting Inc.


    • JPBrewers
      JPBrewers commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Derek,
      Thank you for the response... All tanks are 7 bbl volume. We are in Colorado, so self-distributing is an option.
      With the equipment, we could brew 3 times per week producing 7 Bbl batches each time, which would put us at about 1,000 Bbl's per year. With the focus being on selling all beer in the taproom, we would have to sell about 700 pints per day... which isn't going to happen. We will have excess capacity for contract brewing unless we determine it's worth buying a canning line in the future.
      I will reach out to you directly. Thank you.