When it comes to the cost of setting up a microbrewery, the question is like “How long is a rope?” There is no very accurate answer. This is because the setup cost of a microbrewery has many influencing factors.
These are just some of the considerations for designing the setup cost of a microbrewery. If you want to fully explain this problem, it will become a thick book. However, we can make a simple discussion on the setup cost of a microbrewery to help you quickly enter the brewing industry.
How big is your brewery?
The size of the brewery is very important for setup costs because the size of the equipment will seriously affect your costs. Micet Craft recommends choosing larger equipment as much as possible within the budget. This is because the price of 1,000 liters of brewery equipment is not twice the price of 500 liters of brewery equipment. For example, the price of complete 500-liter brewery equipment is 70,000 U.S. dollars, while the price of 1,000-liter brewery equipment may only be 85,000 U.S. dollars. You only need to pay for additional materials and slightly larger auxiliary equipment (such as chillers).
In addition, it takes the same amount of time to brew in a larger brewing system. Therefore, a larger brewing system will bring you more money. The number of beer manufacturers we talked to is very large, and they said that they would want them to become bigger within 6 months after the opening of the new brewery. Therefore, when planning your brewery, it takes a lot of time to determine the required brewing system size. If possible, you should estimate the expected growth of the brewery business to ensure that the brewing system may be used for at least 5 years.
Where is the location of the brewery?
The location of your brewery will also be a decisive factor in your startup costs. What type of brewery do you plan to become? Craft brewery? Beer? Or a contract brewing brewery? For the content of brewery types, you can check “What is the difference between various types of breweries?”.
Contract brewery: The brewer will use your equipment to brew beer and pay you money. This type of brewery will not have its characteristics. However, this method is also a better way to make full use of the remaining capacity of the brewery.
Taproom: The taproom is a very good idea. It can not only help the brewery profit through direct on-site sales points but also provide an interesting place for locals. Whether it is a production brewery with an attached taproom or a dedicated beer taproom, you can hang out, socialize and make new friends. The taproom will provide you with a large number of loyal customers, you can quickly promote new products, and quickly get valuable feedback and suggestions for the future.
In today’s environment, it is difficult to see a brewery without a bar. Because it can help you get help financially, and it is also a place for you to have interesting communication with your customers. Therefore, finding a location on the edge of a busy area may be a good starting point. He will help you benefit from the huge passenger flow without paying large fees.
Where are you going to purchase your brewing equipment?
This is a very critical issue because it will seriously affect your budget. Under normal circumstances, it is very cheap to buy brewing equipment in China. Therefore, some people think that the quality of Chinese equipment is inferior, but in fact, it is not the case.
First of all, China’s raw materials (stainless steel) are cheaper than other countries, which has a relatively large impact on prices. In addition, the labor cost in China is also low, so the price of the equipment will be very cheap.
I know that some people will say that China’s products are of poor quality, poorly designed, and so on. But this can be avoided through good early communication, and we will discuss this part in depth later.
I said these are not to prevent you from buying equipment in other countries, but to provide a feasible direction for your brewery. In the case of a tight budget, you can consider trying to buy brewery equipment from China.
List of brewery equipment:
- Brewhouse (for example mash mixer, lauter, and brew kettle/whirlpool)
- Malt Mill
- Heat Exchanger
- Heating System
- Fermentation Tank
- Bright Beer Tanks (BBT’s)
- Glycol System for Beer Cooling
- Cold Water Tank (optional)
- Hot Water Tank
- Keg Cleaner
- CIP Unit (optional for smaller breweries)
- Movable pump
- Yeast Brink (optional)
- Beer Hose
- Control panels
- Cables and piping
- Packaging line (bottle or cans)
What container do you plan to put the beer in?
In terms of packaging, do you plan to pack beer into kegs, bottles, cans, or casks? If you plan to pack beer into kegs, then you may only need a manual filling system that is very cheap to assemble. Of course, you can also buy a semi-automatic keg filling machine.
If you plan to pack beer into cans or bottles, cheap equipment may not be the best. Because cheap equipment may cause DO numbers to rise. DO stands for dissolved oxygen, the higher the number, the worse the beer. Oxygen will oxidize beer and produce a papery taste. For more information, please refer to the article “Guide to beer off-flavors: papery (oxidized)”.
For a smaller brewery, it will not be easy to find a packaging line that can provide dissolved oxygen in your budget. Please do research on the filling method of beer. If possible, you can ask what equipment other brewers are using for filling. Ask them what the DO level of their beer is. In a rational situation, the dissolved oxygen level in the can or bottle after packaging needs to be less than 50ppb, and less than 20ppb would be better.
Choosing a small filling production line is a very difficult thing. We asked about relevant content when choosing an automated filling production line for our customers, and their dissolved oxygen level exceeded 100ppb! This will seriously affect the shelf life of beer and shorten the shelf life of beer.
What type of brewery equipment do you want to buy? (Manual/automatic or between)
The higher the degree of automation in the brewery, the easier it will be to brew standardized beer. Automation can help you maintain beer consistency and have the ability to brew batch after batch of delicious craft beer. Delicious craft beer can help you quickly build the trust of your customers.
When ordering beer, brewers need to know exactly what products they get. If the difference between different batches is too great, the brewer is not willing to order your beer. Automation can help you minimize this occurrence.
When we are engaged in consulting work for brewery construction, I always recommend that they use automation for mashups and spend extra cash. In fact, using automated brewing only needs to press a button to enter how much water you need and the exact temperature, which will benefit your final product.
You can install an online flow meter between your lauter tun and your kettle, so you can know exactly how much wort you have collected. This is a good extra money use. The online flow meter can also tell you how many liters of wort are collected per minute, which is a huge help for filtration.
In addition, when the wort is collected from the whirlpool to the fermenting tank, the temperature of the wort can be set at the touch of a button, which is also a very cost-effective use.
In general, these are the 3 key areas where automation is most helpful. Of course, the initial investment cost of automated brewing will be higher. If your budget is tight, then look at the greatest benefits of automation and implement it where possible.
Advantages of the automation system:
- Time-saving (up to only 20 minutes instead of 5-7 hours)
- Full automation (does the steps automatically)
- Less room for errors
- Automatic documentation
- Easy to tweak and perfect recipes
- Avoid waiting times
- Cleaning convenient
- Requires less labor
Disadvantages of automated systems:
- High upfront cost
Automated brewing has many advantages and makes brewing more convenient. Although the initial investment cost is very high, it can be quickly repaid through the later cost. If you have a small budget and plenty of time, manual brewing will be a very good choice. Otherwise, you must try automated brewing. Of course, for some breweries with a small budget and insufficient time, considering the use of semi-automated brewing will also be a very good choice. Whether to choose automatic brewing is mainly based on your budget and time.
It is not cheap to build a microbrewery, you need to set your budget in the transaction, and then triple the budget. This is the budget when all your decisions are correct, whether it is equipment procurement or the location of the brewery. If you need help with planning and implementation, please feel free to contact us. Micet Craft is a professional brewery equipment manufacturer, we can provide you with turnkey solutions.