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Thread: health code questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    health code questions

    First let me say hello to everyone, I've been reading here for a while but this is my first post. This place is a wonderful recourse and I am very glad to have stumbled upon it in my internet travels.

    Now, on to my question. My brother and I have been seriously considering opening a Brewery in our home state of PA. The question I've been trying to answer is what kind of regulations (from the FDA or otherwise) will we have to meet to operate said brewery? We have a building in mind that's been in the family for years but I fear the cost of turning what was originally a company store in a coal mining town into a brewery may be too great. I'm not sure where to find this kind of information or who I should contact so any help would be appreciated.

    Also, we plan on just a brewery, the location is not ideal for a pub or restaurant so that has not been part of our business plan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Health regulations

    Most of your health regulations will be on the state, county, and/or city level.
    For federal information, go to, and possibly

    I highly suggest having someone work in a commercial brewery environment prior to opening up your own commercial brewery. The experience will increase your odds of winning dramatically.

    --Jake Tringali

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Fawn Grove, PA, USA
    For what it is worth Redhook started in an old transmission shop..LOL granted that was over 20+ years ago. I would be more worried about the fact that you say that a brewpub would not work in your area. Is this because your in an industrial setting on the backside of town or miles from any commerce at all? How far out of your area will you need to go to sell beer?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Glenwood Springs, CO


    You need to either spend time in the brewing industry or hire a consultant to make this kind of decision for you. I wouldn't advise going down this road alone.
    Todd Malloy
    Director of Brewing
    Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co.
    Glenwood Springs, Colorado

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Richmond, VA
    As a direct answer to your question, let me offer this: I just started a production brewery in Williamsport. When I called the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture - the agency that handles the state health codes - I was told that they have no interest in breweries. Only local health codes apply. In our case, we were only inspected for health codes because we operate a small tasting room here. The local health codes official had no interest in the brewery either.

    It is up to you to do a LOT of research about your brewery. Call your local codes department and ask someone to do a walk through of your building. Have a couple of drawings outlining where you plan to place tanks and everything else. If you're operating a tasting room, inform them of it and ask what they want to see. Before you even get a building permit, they'll want to see drawings - in most cases professional drawings with an engineer's stamp which can become expensive.
    Mike Hiller, Head Brewer
    Strangeways Brewing
    2277-A Dabney Road
    Richmond, VA 23230

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    I was never inspected by the state but I was inspected about three different times by the insurance company. I also second that having some experience at a commercial brewery will be a boon for you. There are several things you may never consider as far as start up costs go without the added experience.
    BJ Knoke
    Hub City Brewing Company
    "The Largest Microbrewery In Stanley, Iowa"

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