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Old 04-09-2010, 03:18 PM   #21
jfkriege
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I think that is entirely fair. It all depends on what is more important in the beginning, time or initial capital. I usually go for the time intensive start, but that is a personal decision.

$2500 is impressive. There are people who spend more than that on a 5 gallon system. I have to ask. What are you using for tanks on this 85 gallon system? Tank prices are the thing that really shock me for the larger SS stuff. Burners and controls are much closer in price to some of the homebrew gear we see around here.

Do you have an idea of the fermenters that you are looking at?

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Old 04-09-2010, 03:33 PM   #22
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I think that is entirely fair. It all depends on what is more important in the beginning, time or initial capital. I usually go for the time intensive start, but that is a personal decision.

$2500 is impressive. There are people who spend more than that on a 5 gallon system. I have to ask. What are you using for tanks on this 85 gallon system? Tank prices are the thing that really shock me for the larger SS stuff. Burners and controls are much closer in price to some of the homebrew gear we see around here.

Do you have an idea of the fermenters that you are looking at?
I am going to start out with poly conicals. 110 gallon tanks from tankdepot.com are fairly priced.

As for the kettles, I found some used 85 gallon single wall tanks on legs and wheels for $250 each. If they are still around when I have cash in hand I think these are what I am going to use.

Yeah I have about $1700 into my 10 gallon system. I spent a bunch of money on things to make it look nice. The plumbing system on my rig cost me a bunch. All the extra fittings is where it gets you. What I am planning now will be very simple. I will use hoses for all my plumbing. I am not worried about making it look too pretty.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:53 PM   #23
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this is really cool, hopefully you keep this thread going I'm sure you're going to get very busy though. If i may suggest, get those 85 gallon tanks ASAP! that sounds cheap! you are venturing into an expensive venture, $500 shouldn't be problem(i hope not)

I do have a quick question, to me fermentation vessels seem to be the limiting factor, what is the minimum kettle to fermentor ratio? I would assume brewing once a week with 4 weeks fermenting puts you at 4:1 but i suspect that number needs to be much higher to facilitate different beer variety, and brewing more often.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:08 PM   #24
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This sounds like a great idea, but for the scale you are planning will the electrical, plumbing, ventilation systems in the building you plan to use support the additional load of the brewing system. Another approach would be to startup with contract brewed beer to your recipe and use your existing system to brew "Specials" for limited sales, (product development and test marketing). You could get doors open quicker and let others take risk of producing beer to your specification while you aquire the brewing system equipment to brew on premisis and make the infrastructure(structural, electrical, plumbing, ventilation) changes to get started brewing on a larger scale. This approach would lighten the startup costs and still let you deliver a wider array of product and custom brews on a limited scale to start as you ramp inhouse production with larger brewing system you build.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:21 PM   #25
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This sounds like a great idea, but for the scale you are planning will the electrical, plumbing, ventilation systems in the building you plan to use support the additional load of the brewing system. Another approach would be to startup with contract brewed beer to your recipe and use your existing system to brew "Specials" for limited sales, (product development and test marketing). You could get doors open quicker and let others take risk of producing beer to your specification while you aquire the brewing system equipment to brew on premisis and make the infrastructure(structural, electrical, plumbing, ventilation) changes to get started brewing on a larger scale. This approach would lighten the startup costs and still let you deliver a wider array of product and custom brews on a limited scale to start as you ramp inhouse production with larger brewing system you build.
I was at the Vail Big Beers festival in January and spoke to the guys from Upslope brewing. They mentioned something about contract brewing and packaging. They have a canning line and were maybe trying to offset their costs by keeping it running for others. I did not get into details with them but it seems like another option.

I am not so sure I could do it though. I think I am too much of a control freak. I need to have my hands on the process.

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I do have a quick question, to me fermentation vessels seem to be the limiting factor, what is the minimum kettle to fermentor ratio? I would assume brewing once a week with 4 weeks fermenting puts you at 4:1 but i suspect that number needs to be much higher to facilitate different beer variety, and brewing more often.
I have not planned out that far yet. My thoughts so far are to get 4 110 gallon conicals. Then transfer to sanke kegs. I can then plan to have fermenters going as needed to replenish the kegs.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:32 PM   #26
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Most folks with brewing establishments need to run 24/7 to make it pay for itself, expensive equipment, small margins, and overhead. If their quality control is very good you can get started quicker that way as they have the neccessary permits and infrastructrure to produce beer tomorrow. If they would agree, you could participate in production of beer for your facility and gain some valuable experience in the process and hopefully avoid some of the more educational disasters in brewing on a larger scale. You should still work on new and different brews on your own system as you go to see what will impress your customers and what might not be well recieved by others. That way if you only have 5-10 gallons that is less than perfect the financial impact is not the same as 100 gallons.

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Old 04-23-2010, 12:40 AM   #27
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A couple weeks ago the Brewing Network guys had 3 nano brewers on the "Sunday Session" show. One of them brews in 5 or 10 gallon batches. Here is the URL for the show if you are interested in the experiences of others: http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/621

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Old 04-23-2010, 03:18 AM   #28
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I am not so sure I could do it though. I think I am too much of a control freak. I need to have my hands on the process.
A word to the wise. I wish you all the luck in the world with your venture but lots of small businesses fail for this exact reason. They fail when it is time to expand. They try to it all themselves and find out that inevitably they can't, but by that time it's too late and the business fails. I have seen it lots of times, and it's sad because the business folds not because of it's potential but because someone can't let go and depend on others. It's a vicious cycle and ultimately leads to bad business decisions. Control freaks and micro managers have a horrible time in the business world and more often than not are unsuccessful. I am not trying to be a hardass, I just don't want to see you fall into that trap.
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:22 PM   #29
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A word to the wise. I wish you all the luck in the world with your venture but lots of small businesses fail for this exact reason. They fail when it is time to expand. They try to it all themselves and find out that inevitably they can't, but by that time it's too late and the business fails. I have seen it lots of times, and it's sad because the business folds not because of it's potential but because someone can't let go and depend on others. It's a vicious cycle and ultimately leads to bad business decisions. Control freaks and micro managers have a horrible time in the business world and more often than not are unsuccessful. I am not trying to be a hardass, I just don't want to see you fall into that trap.
good advice amigo
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:18 PM   #30
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I appreciate the advice. I may have gave the wrong impression of myself. I like control but also know when to give it up. I was just referring to contract brewing. The reason I want to do a brewery is to actually be a part of it. To do the brewing. I will actually not have too much to do with the "business" side of things. My roomate will be in charge of the day to day operations. We have another guy who will be doing the marketing/promotion side of things.

My roomate is a lawyer. He is drawing up ownership contracts and business plan that will layout plans for growth. We will in basic terms have a path to follow, given what choices we make in expansion.

The control I was talking about, was more on recipes, brewing process, and timing. Thanks again though for the advice. It always helps to have people keep you in check.

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