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Thread: Advise on Microbrewery size

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Riga, LATVIA

    Question Advise on Microbrewery size


    We are planning a Microbrewery Start Up in Latvia, Eastern Europe.

    This area still provides an excellent growth potential for beer consumption for the next 5 - 7 years and is in need for consistent high quality and variety (niche) beers.

    As our studies show, we would like to establish a brewery, which would initially be able to brew one (1) million litres of beer per year (most in April-October).

    So far I have received different advise on brewery size necessary for this project. We plan an increase from 1 to 1,5/2 million litres per year in 2 -3 years. This volume would qualify for realistic initial 2% of the market.

    Is 50 bbl size brewery appropriate? What amount of investment this require? Your advise and comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Riga, LATVIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Mesquite, Texas
    The short answer: yes, that's a good size brewhouse, but to brew that much beer, you'll need enough fermenters.

    The longer answer: With a 50 barrel brewhouse, your capacity would be 150 barrels (slightly more than 175 hectoliters) a day, brewing three shifts, starting at 6 am and brewing until after midnight.

    The limiting factor is how many fermenters you're purchasing, what size they are, and how long your fermenting/aging cycle is. Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that you'll have ten 100 bbl fermenters and ten 50 bbl fermenters, and will be brewing three batches a day from Monday through Friday, with a two week cycle for each batch, at capacity you could brew 750 bbls a week (880 hectoliters). If you brewed that much beer 50 weeks a year, you'd be at 44,000 hectoliters a year, or 4.4 million liters.

    That's at absolute capacity, brewing uncomplicated ales. Lagers will take longer/need more tanks! And that's with only two weeks offline! And it totally depends on having enough tankage!

    Hope that helps!

    Cheers, Tim
    Last edited by tarmadilo; 08-19-2003 at 06:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Chesterfield, UK
    I would start off sizing your brewery and plant by deciding what volume you reckon realistically you will be able to sell during your peak weeks sales. presumably during summer, and any other extended periods of time.

    From that, based on say two weeks total production time for ales, perhaps three of four weeks for lagers (production time is essential to the calculation) and to a lesser extent, the number of different types of beers you wish to sell, you can then decide the volume you need to brew each week, adn the total capacity at each stage of production, ie, fermenters. maturation and bright beer. You can then work out the brewlength depending upon the hours you wish or are prepared to work.

    Don't forget to work out total time in each successive vessel in the brewhouse you cannot mash at 18:00 and expect to be away for 22:00. And allow time at the start & end of the week for warm up and cleaning, plus some time for the inevitable breakdowns.

    I would tend to go for larger mash vessels etc but with fewer brews per week initially. If you want smaller volumes I have brewed 80 British barrels in a 240 brl mash vessel quite happily - plenty of room to manouvre. Cheers

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