Brewery Floor Plan Guide – A Client Conversation

I wanted to write a brewery floor plan guide after my chat with a potential brewery owner today. If you look at the picture below you can see the original question posted on Facebook.

Brewery Floor Plan Guide

Now this is in a group I’m in for prospective brewery owners. It’s a great group and everyone in it knows I’m a brewing consultant. I offer bits of advice to members when they ask questions.

However, this persons post was too complicated to answer easily. So, I sent a DM and offered to have a quick chat. The offer was politely accepted so, we had a quick 10-minute call. What we discussed, I wanted to share here.

Please note: Each brewery is different and so are their needs. I once brewed in Armenia, it was a hard place to send raw materials to. So, we needed order 3 to 6 months’ worth of materials at a time.

I’m currently based in Shanghai so, can order two weeks’ worth of stock at a time as it’s easy to organize a delivery of some of the materials I need.

Brewery Floor Plan Guide – What Questions Were Asked?

In this phone call I had some initial questions. Which were:

  • How big are brewery are you planning to buy?
  • Do you have a building already in mind for your brewery project?
  • What type of brewery do you plan to run?
  • What are your predicted sales volumes for year 1, 2 and 3?

The reason for asking these questions is it establish size of brewery and needs. It’d give me an idea of floor space was required for production. Floor plans are based off the size of the brewhouse and whether the brewery is a brewpub, production brewery or something else.

Malt room

The size of the malt room depends on brewhouse size. You will make different styles of beer but if you factor a malt bill for a 5.5% abv beer. It’s a good average to work from; some beers will be lower whilst others stronger in alcohol.

You don’t want too much stock in your brewery, as its money tied up doing nothing. A good guide is to have enough malt for one month of production.

Your malt room should be a dedicated space, it needs to be kept dry and you can store you malt mill there too. Malt dust gets everywhere and having the mill isolated from the rest of the brewery is recommended.

Malt Being Milled Ready For Brewing
Malt Being Milled Ready For Brewing

Cold Room – Brewery Floor Plan Guide

Your brewhouse size, output, number of SKU’s and brewery type will factor into the size of the cold room needed. In brewing we use the term SKU’s.

If a beer is sold in keg it’s considered one SKU, if the same beer is sold in bottles as well, this is another SKU. The number of beer styles and pack type needs to be included in your business plan.

The number of SKU’s you plan to have plus projected sales numbers will give you an idea of how much cold room space you’ll need. Cold room needs to account for growth plus holding larger stock during the busiest periods. Which for most breweries is the summer months.

A good figure to start with, is have the same volume of beer packaged, as your total volume of FV’s and cellar tanks can hold. It’ll be different for each brewery. This isn’t a perfect number but a guide to base off. Again, think about your growth and account for busy periods.

Fermenter and Cellar Tanks

It good to have a mix of tanks. So, have fermenters/unitanks for single batch brews and for double brews. As you grow you might put 4 or more brews in a single tank.

The number of tanks you need will depend on your sales predictions. I’ve put together a guide here. If you opt to have brite beer tanks (BBT), having one BBT for every 4 fermenters is common practice.

I go into more details about tank needs in the article linked here. So please read the article for more information regarding tanks needs for a new brewery.

Other Items to Consider

Packaging

If you are looking to package beer into bottle or can, it’s advisable to have a separate room for packaging. I know some modern craft breweries work with an open floor plan. However, for sanitary purposes I like to have a dedicated room for packaging.

Size of the room will be based off predicted package sales forecast. The sales number will allow you to know the size of machine needed. From there you can contact companies and get drawings and schematics for the size (floor space needed) for the bottle or canning line.

You need room for the workers, to feed the line and to take off the line. Layout of the packaging machine will depend on size and how automated the line is. For example, if you have a depalletizer or automatic box packer you’ll need more space.

Warehouse

If you packaging beer into can/bottle and keg, you’ll need materials for this from the can/bottle, caps to boxes. Other items stored in a warehouse are spare parts for a brewery.

Furthermore please note some spare parts are more expensive than others, it’s advisable to have a section which is locked off, with only certain employees having keys. Other items stored in a warehouse can be numerous from empty kegs to marquees for outside events.

For materials for the packaging line, start with having enough space for one month’s stock minimum for the busiest time of the year. However, the bigger the better especially as you grow.

Beer Transfer
Beer Transfer

Chilling Units and Glycol System

You’ll have a cold room as well glycol system to regulate the temperatures of your FV’s and cellar tanks. In modern brewing compressors and chilling units are often kept outside. As they are noisy and can generate a lot of heat.

Boiler/Generator Room

Depending on you the heating option you choose for your brewery you might need a boiler room. For more about brewery heating options please see our in-depth articles linked below:

Furthermore a boiler room will be a dedicated area for you steam generator/boiler. Please check on local regulations at your location to make sure are within code if you go down this route. Again, the size of room needed is dependent on brewhouse needs.

Additionally this is where your equipment manufacturer can help once more. It’s best to work with your chosen supplier; as they can assist with the size of boiler needed plus how much space you need to allocate to house it.

Brewery Floor Plan Guide – Conclusions

There are many elements you need to consider when putting a brewing project together. Locking in your floor plan in is one of the most important concerns.

After my conversation with the prospective brewery owner today, we reached out to one of my preferred suppliers to put a floor plan together. Please see it below:

Brewery Floor Plan Example

This is for a 15HL 3-vessel brewery; thanks to Tonsen for putting this brewery floor plan guide together. The client is happy with the plan as a starting point. The malt room, mill and cold room are placed elsewhere.

I hope this article has given you some pointers when it comes to putting a brewery layout together. If you need some assistance then pleas feel free to contact me.

I’ve been a brewer for 25 years and now work as a consultant helping people with their brewing projects. Having worked on a number of systems and in various market around the world, I know my way around a brewery and brewhouse design.

You can reach me via email at:

neil@asianbeernetwork.com

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Cheers

Neil

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Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at neil@asianbeernetwork.com.
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