​The Right Time to Get a Grain Silo

​Although it’s not a precise science, calculating when to buy or lease a grain silo for base malt — or even a widely used secondary malt — is fairly simple when talking with breweries that have made the purchase.

Numerous brewers claim it’s a great return on investment and you coup the extra money spent on the front within a year, maybe even less (depending on the amount of brew cycles your brewery has).

“The ROI on a silo is one of the shortest I have seen in brewing equipment,” said Drew Yeager of Fat Bottom Brewing. Once the brewery purchased their own land to build the silo on, it was a no-brainer.

“For us, the silo paid for itself in six months from the amount we saved per pound,” Yeager said. “The difficulty is getting use to the cash flow difference from paying $2,000 every week, to $16,000 every silo fill.”

Great Basin Brewing used warehouse storage for about three years before adding its first silo to house 70,000 pounds at a time.

“ROI on a silo is great,” noted Jazz Aldrick. “We pay about 16 cents less per pound and our usual brew length is around 2,000 pounds of bulk base malt. So we save $320 per brew. The silo itself ran about $17,000 so the ROI was roughly 53 brews.”

Warped Wing‘s John Haggerty orders malt on a monthly basis. An inventory evaluation is done mid-month for what the Dayton, Ohio brewery have on hand versus what is left to produce in that given month.

“We then look at what our shortfall will be for the following month and order accordingly,” he explained. “Pretty simple really. We will try to round up on base malt orders for even pallets as you can always use it and it also helps in case we have changes.

“The big change for us is that as we have run out of room in the brewery we have had to go to an off-site warehouse. This requires an almost daily conversation between the brewery staff and the warehouse staff so that we have what we need without having to store an inordinate amount of malt at the brewery.”

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