​Ordering Ingredients During Growth​

As Cheboygan Brewing’s production has steadily grown Brewmaster Brian Lindsay told Brewer that the Michigan brewery has been able to predominantly maintain its grain handling procedures.

Focused as a production-first brewery since opening in May of 2011, Cheboygan‘s mindset forced Lindsay and his team to focus on production capabilities and constraints on brand complexities.

“We have grown from offering seven beer brands to now releasing twelve throughout the year,” he explained. “It has been very important for consistency and cost to cap our brand varieties at the current limit.”

To stay relevant and maintain quality when Cheboygan releases a new offering it replaces one of the twelve previous brands.

“If — and when — capacity allows we may bring back a retired brand for a limited time,” Lindsay said. “However, our focus is always to promote our four flagship brands and rotate new varieties in the search for the next “big” beer.”

Smartmouth Brewing recently installed a grain silo for its two-row base malt.

While Porter Hardy, IV said he still buy a lot of Pilsner malt for Safety Dance, the Norfolk, Virginia brewery’s German ​Pilsner, it has definitely seen several advantages to the silo.

“First, there is a lower cost of goods sold associated with it,” said Hardy, the brewery’s president. “Now, the catch to that is the cash flow issue when you have to pay for the fill all at once and before you can start selling the beer made with the grain.

“The cash flow pain is worth it, but don’t forget about it.”

One other benefit was the savings on freight, which Hardy said he had not counted on.

“Space savings are also nice, of course,” he said. “I’ve almost never seen a brewery that thought they had enough space.”

On the hops front, Smartmouth has noticed the change in the customer’s palate and has had to adjust.

“The main issue here would be the hop contracts that most of us signed a few years ago when there was a hop shortage and most of the currently hot hops were not produced in any meaningful way,” he noted. “It is just another example of the constantly shifting sands of the brewing industry.”

Logistically, Cheboygan orders the same amount of malt per order but Lindsay said that he has increased the order frequency from every other week to once a week.

“The increase in ordering frequency coincides with our production and allows us to utilize the same size storage area,” he said.

“In other words, we store the same amount of grain, but rotate through that inventory twice as fast.”

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