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Brewery in one location / tap house in another?

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  • Brewery in one location / tap house in another?

    Hi, I'm in the planning stages of a smaller brewery (4-6 bbl). The brewery is going to be in a large shop on my property. I own a commercial building in a high traffic area that I want to use as my tap house. It can't be a brewpub because it is an historic building and there just isn't enough space. My idea is that beer would be transported chilled and uncarbonated from the brewery and pumped into brite tanks for carbonation at the taphouse. I know I will need kegs, but I like that this would minimize my time filling, moving and cleaning kegs. But, is there a legal difference between transporting a 1/2 bbl of beer in a keg to a taphouse (self distribution is legal in my state) and transporting 4 bbls in a tank? Could this fly w/ TTB? I'm assuming measurement would have to take place at the brewery.

  • #2
    Should we presume this is in the USA? There are lots of Canadiens on here you know... What are the kegs for? I don't think it matter what size container you ship the beer in. Just carbonate and serve out of the tanks. Then you have no kegs to clean and fill. The quality of doing this is another matter...


    • #3
      Check top right of my post. I'm in Orygun. Kegs are for kegging off the last 1/2 bbl of a batch so beer can still be served while tank is being cleaned, refilled and carbed. I plan to size the tank to minimize head space, and CO2 flush tank and all lines.


      • #4
        Why not just carb and get beer all done in first location. Lack of room? It's seem like more logistical work and takes space away from your retail space.

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        • #5
          That would have been my preference. My concern would be finding a reasonably priced horizontal tank that can be pressurized and mounted to a trailer. My assumption is that would be a pricey custom job, but might be worth exploring. I don't think this idea would take space away from the retail space. I would drive the tank to the building, gravity feed into serving tanks in the basement, start carbing and return the tank to the brewery.
          The follow-up question I have is whether it is of any benefit for the tap house to be a separate business from the brewery. Seems like that might complicate things, but otherwise wouldn't TTB and the state consider the tap house to be part of the brewery and therefore need to be somehow included in my plan? I know a lot of big breweries have separate tap houses (e.g. Deschutes) but I don't know how they work that.


          • #6
            You can do it with say 2 LLC's 2 sets of books and so forth. One advantage if one does well and one goes under you still have at least one business. Talk to accountant there would plus and minus to both. Your around Cave Junction?

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            • #7
              Have you heard of flex tanks? 300 gallons, and you can move them with a forklift or pallet jack. We ferment and condition in them at the meadery I work for, they're pretty slick – CIP reasonably well, don't retain too much odor even after weeks/months, so, I'm sure it won't be an issue if you're just keeping 'em filled long enough to pop 'em on a truck and drive 'em across town. The one thing I don't know is whether they're up to spec for moving carbonated beer – our meads are still, so, it's not something we've had to worry about.

              The other thing I'd ask is, have you factored in carbonation time in your plan to transfer flat than carb in the brite tank? Again, still meads, so, I'm no expert, but just from reading other threads here, depending on your setup, it seems like it can take up to several days, which may be enough time to empty that one half-barrel keg before it's done?


              • #8
                Just to mention you will want to talk to your state before you get much further in the discussion.

                The TTB should allow it - although you'll probably have to have 2 separate companies and sets of books - you'd be selling your beer from the brewery to the taproom. And regardless of if the beer is carbonated or not I'm sure you'll have to have taxes paid etc before the beer can be moved over.

                That being said state/local laws vary so much from place to place you will want to have a major talk with them before going any further. Some states will let you open a taproom in another location with your brewery license, others will require you to get a separate restaurant or liquor license to sell the beer.


                • #9
                  Yes, I'm just outside Cave Junction, in Takilma. Do you know the area? The tap house is an old Odd Fellows Hall (1876) in an old gold mining town called Kerby, just outside CJ. I think the tank mentioned is called an IBC tote (they're everywhere here in "growland". Those could be a good idea for the brewery, but they are considerably bigger than my current planned volumes for serving and I already have a 150 gallon insulated horizontal tank on a trailer (can't hold pressure). I haven't had any luck contacting OLCC. State directed me to the local office and haven't heard back on 3 calls. I may have to make a visit in person. Regarding carbonation, most of the probrewer research I've done says it can be done in hours with the right temp and technique. My thought was that I would carb inline while pumping from the trailer tank into the serving tanks in the walk-in.

                  Thanks to all for taking the time to help troubleshoot this concept.

                  Time to find an accountant and get OLCC's attention!