Dorchester Brewing

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5 Things to Consider When Building Your Brewery

Today on our blog, we’ve got a special treat for you! Our friends over at Zajac, who know a thing or two about building out breweries, have put together a few essential things to consider for anyone thinking about building a brewery. Zajac is a leading supplier to the Craft Brewing industry, delivering high quality process piping, custom stainless steel fabrication and complete packaging lines since 1975.  They provide all of the mechanical and electrical services including brewhouse installation, fermentation tank installation, filtration piping, process skids, valve manifolds and CIP systems. They were an incredible partner in helping us build out our space over the past few months, resulting in what you see today!

  1. Plan to plan: Your business plan should have a direct impact on the brewery, cellar, utility and packaging equipment that you are going to invest in. Are you planning on adding additional fermentation down the road to increase capacity? It’s much easier and less expensive in the long run to plan on additional cooling capacity in the initial design than it is to replace the chiller in the future and/or have to increase the size of the distribution system. The bottles you have now are great – but are you looking to add a can line down the road?  Planning for the future significantly impacts not only which equipment to buy, but how equipment will be laid out in the plant and how material flows through your facility. Going through a tough planning stage now will save you substantial time, money, and stress down the road.
  2. Safety first: Your goal is for all your employees to go home safe and happy every day. You can take steps to achieve this goal in the design stage – plan a thorough review of your layout and question everything from a safety perspective. Should the brewers be lifting a heavy bag of grain that high? Is there any chance your platforms and walking surfaces are going to have standing water on them creating a slip hazard? There are a million decisions that need to be reviewed from a safety perspective – take the time now to create a safer place to work for your team.
  3. Pack it in: As many brewers have told us, packaging systems are much more complex than they had ever imagined and is an area they constantly struggle with. Packaging equipment is expensive, difficult to install and commission, and has a large footprint that results in numerous material handling and foot traffic issues. Due to the cost and size, packaging equipment needs to be closely tied to your business plan and should be a driving factor in determining the pace you need for your brewery.
  4. Utilities, utilities, utilities: The beer is the fun stuff – who doesn’t like shopping for a new brewhouse? Utilities aren’t sexy, but they are incredibly important in allowing you to consistently put out a quality product that you can be proud of. The biggest issue we see is under sizing utility systems. Electrical, glycol, steam, water and waste all play an important part in delivering a repeatable product. Designing and installing utility systems that both adequately meet yours process needs and incorporates important safety elements is extremely difficult and should be left to a qualified integrator. Your utilities are also likely subject to unique regional/city codes; it is best to meet with local inspectors/authorities as early as possible in order to determine what permits, licenses, inspections, etc. are required. Steam and electrical are particular utilities to examine closely.
  5. Go with the flow: The flow of product, ingredients, materials, equipment, waste, and people will always be something you have to manage and should be considered before construction begins. Those beautiful, 12’ shiny tanks will look amazing – once you find a way to get them through your 8’ doors. Is there adequate space to move your raw materials from receiving to your process area? Are your forklifts going to be constantly zooming through high foot traffic areas – creating a safety hazard? What is the plan to conduct safe tours of your new brewery while your team is operating the system? All of these flows need to be carefully reviewed to run a safe and efficient operation.

Zajac understands the enormous task ahead of you. They have been working with breweries like Dorchester Brewing Company for over 30 years. Contact them today to discuss your upcoming project!