I wanted to write this brewery floor plan guide, after a chat with a potential brewery owner today. If you look at the picture below, you can see the original question posted on Facebook.
This post is from a group I’m in, for prospective brewery owners. It’s a great group where everyone knows I’m a brewing consultant. I offer bits of advice to members when they ask questions.
However, this particular post was too complicated to answer easily. So, I sent the original poster a message offering to have a quick chat. The invitation was politely accepted so, we had a quick 10-minute call. What was discussed, I wanted to share here as it might prove useful to others.
Please note: Each brewery is different depending on needs and other factors. I once brewed in Armenia, a place it’s tough to send raw materials to. So, we would order 3 to 6 months’ worth of materials at a time.
I’m currently based in Shanghai so, can order a months worth of raw materials at a time. As it’s easy to organize a delivery of the materials as needed.
Brewery Floor Plan Guide – What Questions Were Asked?
In the phone call we had, the initial questions were:
- What’s the size of the brewhouse you plan to purchase?
- 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 answers to the these questions establishes brewery size and needs. Plus, how much floor space is 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.
The size of the malt room depends on brewhouse size. Yes you’ll make different beer styles, but if you factor a malt bill for a 5.5% abv beer. It’s a good average to work from; some beers will require a smaller malt bill whilst others will be stronger in alcohol needing more malt.
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 your malt mill can be stored there too. Malt dust gets everywhere so, having the mill isolated from the rest of the brewery is recommended.
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 produce plus, projected sales numbers gives you an idea of how much cold room space you’ll need. Cold room size needs to account for growth as well as holding larger stock during the busiest periods. Which for most breweries is the summer months.
A good size to start with, is having the same volume of beer packaged, as your total volume held in FV’s and cellar tanks. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you do have outside space, place you compressors there. It’ll mean more inside room.
Depending on the heating option you choose for your brewery, you may need a boiler room too. For more information on brewery heating options please, see our in-depth articles linked below:
A boiler room is 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:
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:
Thanks for reading and have a great day.