Building a Bigger Brewery: Week 1

In this case, it is about size.

As many of you know, our space is currently at capacity as we have doubled our fermentor space since we opened a year ago, and with a kitchen going in which eats up space, we need a production facility to supply our beer to other places than ourselves.

I’m starting this weekly blog more of to keep myself accountable and at task, to keep moving this project along though I’m sure many of you will be interested in following.

What did I do for the first week?  Well, we actually toured our first possible location – and it’s near and in Akron.  Keeping it in Akron is preferable to another city because A, I love Akron and B, I have finally figured out all the things I need to do for a new location as far as the building department and health department goes.   I definitely don’t need to learn about new processes in a city that doesn’t have Summit County do the building or health stuff. (I want this to be easier this time).

What am I looking for?

This production facility will be a 15, 20 or 30bbl brewhouse with up to 12, 80 or 90bbl fermentors when at capacity.  So I’m looking for at least 20,000 square feet of warehouse space.

So what did we find?

We found a building, very close, that actually fit’s the bill.  It’s a 17,000 sq ft warehouse:

20160927_101715
This would be where the brewhouse would go.  The downside to this part of the building is that the metal walls and ceiling would need replaced and insulated.
20160927_102759
This space is right next to the above picture.  This has 20 foot ceilings which would perfectly accommodate 80 or 90bbl fermentors.  We would have to rip up part of the floor to put in trench drains.  This part of the building is brick-walled.  The ceilings appear to have no leaks…sloped roof is good.
20160927_101523
This part is directly next to the fermentor space.  This would be perfect for kegging and canning.
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This can either be for a taproom to see into fermentor room.  Or storage.  Perhaps a cooler.
20160927_101631
This is right next to where that canning/kegging area would be.  It can be a cooler…though it may be too small.
20160927_102728
Every single kind of electricity I could need…110, 220, 480 I believe.

What I need to do next is a quick schematic to make sure the brewhouse, fermentors and canning line will fit and it won’t be ‘too’ small.  I need to then find some pricing on replacing exterior metal and roof metal and getting it insulated.  I also need general pricing on ripping out floors and pouring new concrete.

There is also outdoor space to grow into – more for storage and cooler space I imagine.

PROS:  Close.  High ceilings for fermentors.  Plenty of electricity options.  The layout is actually perfectly setup.  Some room on property to grow.

CONS:  Brewhouse area would need new sloped metal roof and insulated sides.

Distribution

I also spoke to the first distributor too and trying to figure out how all that works.  Would I want to have provisions to self distribute to the Akron market first, then have a distributor take it further?  There is one thing I don’t want to do is to run a logistics company too.  😉

Financing

Obviously this will be financed.  I have already come across two institutions that know the beer industry and another was from driving around town and noticing ‘this project financed by…’  I have met with my tax guy and we are getting financial statements together.  I am also putting together some data on the local akron/canton/cleveland beer scene.

Next Week

Things to do are:

  • Find another building to look at
  • Talk to another distributor
  • Followup with the first distributor and check out their facility (hoppy beers stay cold all the time).
  • Continue to fine-tune the equipment quotes
  • Call three financial institutions that I have honed-in on to start some conversation of what options I have and what type of financial data is needed.
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One thought on “Building a Bigger Brewery: Week 1”

  1. I would get multiple quotes for the roof as well, some the wearhouses around here can take hundreds of thousands to renovate, good luck in your search!

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