Vital Strategies for Brewhouse Planning

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Preparing your brewery, either from the start or in a remodel can be vital to workflow. It can cut down on man hours and avoid unnecessary risks.

Avoiding workspace crossover can be eliminated during any planning stage, whether it be as a startup or during an expansion explained Chuck Silva, who is the former Brewmaster and VP of Brewing Operations at Green Flash in San Diego for more than a decade and now operates Silva Brewing in Paso Robles, California.

Silva wanted to make sure his 1,200 square-foot facility was built correctly and using his decades of experience, he shared his thoughts.

“You want to make sure you get your layout set, even with a small square footage in a clockwise or counterclockwise, left to right flow and keep lanes open,” Silva said. “You don’t want a forklift, say going next to your shiny and pretty tanks and you don’t want to run people over.”

Silva said he is going up as well with his 4-foot wide, 13-foot high tanks, using a 3:1 height-to-width ratio, which isn’t ideal as he likes to stay closer to 2.5:1, but with smaller tanks he notes that good convection and chilling is easier since there isn’t as much propensity for stratification.

Planning for expansion down the road is key as well noted Fate Brewing‘s Jeff Griffith. Knowing where a larger brewhouse is going to go, or where the next fermenter will be placed and how it will affect work flow are ways to be mindful of growth.

“You see some people want to go out and do it and get a system and then before they know it they are upgrading to a bigger system,” Griffith said.

Sourcing and researching a task like this can be daunting. Patience can be the hardest part when it comes to going from the thought process, through research and into fabrication.

“There is always going to be a turnaround in this industry toward production of equipment,” said Brian Helton, who opened Helton Brewing in 2016. “Fabrication is huge and important. If they are quoting you a month or so, you are getting a product that is pre-fabbed and coming off a production facility compared to being fabricated to your design.

“What’s kind of nice about some companies is that you can dictate your parameters for things like size. They can work with you compared to pre-fab. They should be flying you out to see your system being fabricated. When it comes to the construction of the systems you have to accept a certain duration [of time] as the norm.”

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