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  • architectural "rules-of-thumb" for brewery layout

    Coming from an architectural background, I'm accustom to working with code requirements and basic architectural layout methods. One patron per 10-12 square feet, one parking space per 3 patrons, one bathroom per 20 people etc. This is how I'm assessing potential locations for feasibility. Of course, there's water, power and everything else too, but that can be added easier than additional square footage.

    What I'm wondering about are any rules-of-thumb specific to a 5bbl microbrewery that serves 90% of its beer on location and has no food. How much brewhouse square footage per bbl, how much cooler space per bbl etc. I've found a few helpful threads here and extrapolated some numbers. Does anyone have more direct numbers?

  • #2
    think vertical..

    We produced 1200bbls on a
    7bbl system. With stacked
    Tanks. In 500 sq/ft. Bulk grain
    Storage outside.

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    • #3
      A brewer and cellarman can be expected to make about 250 bbls on a 5 bbl system per year. Not much more than that should be expected, nor is it practical.

      To maintain this pace you will need a very strict one brew day per week and three fermenters and a bright, or four fermenters. A hot liquor tank is extremely helpful but not needed.

      To serve this beer you will need somewhere between 4-8 serving tanks, depending on how amazing the beer is.

      25 bbls off site is about 30 empty 1/6 and 1/2 barrels sitting around. You’ll need a keg washer at that point and floor space for clean kegs and dirty kegs. A keg washer can be created from the 3-Comp sink on the brewery floor if it has sufficient basin volume. Don’t forget a mop sink and separate hand sink. Regardless, you’re talking 6 or so total pallets of clean/Dirty kegs. Pallet shelves really help with keg storage.

      If you plan on packaging instead, your packaging line should probably be just some bottle wands and a large cart. Floor space will be needed for the pallet of glass, cases of crowns, label storage, a labelling area with a labeller, pre-rinsing area, filling area, crowning area, washing and carton packing. Forklifts are wonderful here, but again, the point of a 5bbl is to avoid these costs so I would forgo bottling and just sell them a growler or crowler if you want to be fancy. Mobile canners will not usually service less than 15 bbls.

      It’s not reasonable to expect both packaging in bottles and kegs on such a small system. I would actually drop both desires immediately. Super nonsense to me, but it’s not my fantasy we’re talking about.

      Grain handling will take pallets of space. Probably not more than 3 most of the time, but But empty pallets take up space, as well as pallet jack parking, this system is probably too small for a forklift, but you’ll still want one to unload all the shipper things anyway. Milling, milled grain, spent grain also need floor space. 100lbs per bbl is a good rule of thumb. 500lbs is 10 bags. 40 bags to a pallet. That’s about a month of single brew weeks, but things don’t always go as planned and you might have a few hanging around. This adds up. Premilled grain and easy access to a food waste dumpster could eliminate a lot of this storage space, but you’ll still need to store and move pallets. This is possible to do without, but really nonsense and extremely expense and unhealthy.

      Hops take up cooler space. Probably not more than a pallet of space at the most. Most likely 6-10 cases depending on how hoppy you get.

      Coolant storage, cold liquor if possible, glycol storage and controls might take up another tank or two worth of space.

      Cleaning chemicals will take up a pallet of space at least.
      Empty buckets for rinsing parts will take up another pallet.

      Glassware, growlers and merchandise can take up a lot of space or almost none, depending on how much you like shipping things.

      Forklifts, battery chargers, propane cylinders, tool storage, tubing, jockey boxes, co2 cylinders, garbage cans, yeast brinks, eye wash stations, cardboard boxes, gift boxes, tap handles, coffee machines and pumps all take up annoying amounts of floor space.

      I’d say 1000sq ft is possible if you have an outdoor cooler, but 6000 would be better. You could probably run a 15bbl in 6000 with exactly the same effort and nearly the same operating cost as a 5bbl in 1000. Just because your rent goes down, doesn’t mean your total costs go down, but this isn’t my fantasy.

      Hope I was helpful. I know it’s scattered everywhere.





      Originally posted by phoulx View Post
      Coming from an architectural background, I'm accustom to working with code requirements and basic architectural layout methods. One patron per 10-12 square feet, one parking space per 3 patrons, one bathroom per 20 people etc. This is how I'm assessing potential locations for feasibility. Of course, there's water, power and everything else too, but that can be added easier than additional square footage.

      What I'm wondering about are any rules-of-thumb specific to a 5bbl microbrewery that serves 90% of its beer on location and has no food. How much brewhouse square footage per bbl, how much cooler space per bbl etc. I've found a few helpful threads here and extrapolated some numbers. Does anyone have more direct numbers?



      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        I ran a 5bbl Specific two-vessel system, with three 10bbl and one 20bbl fermentors, and one each 10bbl and 20bbl brite tanks. Indoor glycol chiller for all vessels, 3.5bbl reservoir. On-demand dual hot water heater providing 185 degree water at 6 gpm. Steam boiler for kettle jacket. On-site grain mill, with auger to a grist case above the mash tun. Cold room holding 10bbl brite, serving kegs (8 taps), and storage for ~10bbls of beer in kegs, plus storage for about 200 lbs. of hops, though we're not a particularly hoppy brewery. Two-head manual canner. Bulk CO2 tank. Three basin SS commercial sink with sideboards. Empty keg storage (~10bbl worth of cooperage). We cleaned kegs as needed in the sink with a shopmade keg washer. Tap room with 12-seat bar and table seating for another 22. Two restrooms, one smallish storage closet with mop sink. Two pallets for grain storage, two 48" NSF shelving units for specialty grain bins. All grain ordered as needed on a weekly basis.

        Peak production was 450bbls/yr, with about 50bbls of that in cans, and we were still ramping up can production when we moved to a larger facility with a larger system. Still, total space was 1800sf. It involved a fair bit of jockeying sometimes, but neither the brewery nor the tap room was cramped. You can do it, if you're efficient with space. Verticality is a big part of it. Hope this helps.
        Last edited by spetrovits; 02-18-2018, 04:31 AM.

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        • #5
          Figure out how many floor drains you need, and then put in two more

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          • #6
            Design in an Age of Bad Engineering

            Because of many factors and considerations, Electrical and Mechanical Systems are not properly or fully considered in their " correct " scope of application, and many mistakes are made therein that will be costly in terms of re-works. All of this stems from a lack of experience and understanding of what works and how to install systems that are going to be reliable for years to come under the constant duty cycle seen in Brewery operations. I have worked on and had maintenance oversight of large properties where demonstration of Gross Engineering blunders cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to deal with, and much of it never being put right. IN this case you need high expertise to point out all the potential pitfalls of your base design. Everyone these days also wants to reinvent the wheel and do things way on the cheap coming in. This is double trouble.
            Its very good practice to tour as many facilities as possible and take clear notes of what works and what does not.
            Some key points....
            There is never enough of the right kind of space given to correctly install industrial mechanical and electrical systems.
            Specifications are written by design people who are not versed in Brewery operations.
            Certain critical systems are forgotten or never considered.
            Redundancy on Critical systems is never consdiered.
            Certain types of systems that are not supposed to be outside are attempted to be " Put outdoors."
            Critical systems are undersized and under rated.

            The list goes on.
            Warren Turner
            Industrial Engineering Technician
            HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
            Moab Brewery
            The Thought Police are Attempting to Suppress Free Speech and Sugar coat everything. This is both Cowardice and Treason given to their own kind.

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