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Old 09-24-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
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Default A friend wants to start a micro brewery and restaurant

A friend wants to start a micro brewery and restaurant. I'm still fairly new to all grain. But he asked me to look into equipment, grain, hops, and yeast cost. I'm wondering if any one here would be able to help me on some of these. This will be in the quad cities or maybe LeClaire IA. He is currently going to a culinary school.

I need to find some places to get the equipment. I'm thinking we would need to brew about a hundred gallons at time. This means we will need six kegs for each batch after it comes out if the fermenter. So in the start up phase I have to decide how many ferminters we need. Also how many kegs should I consider getting at start up?
I have looked at stout tanks and kettles three bbl system. But what other companies can I look at? There is a lot to this, I almost have to talk to someone that has done it and is willing to help, explain what they went thru and their start up cost.
I'm going to be all over here. It would be nice to have jacketed and cooled ferminters. Or would it be cheaper to cool a larger room and start off fermenting them all at the same temp?
I know I will need a larger walk in cooler for keg storage, a nice dry storage room, cooler for yeast, a way to store hops. This is going to be a big undertaken. He needs some good numbers to start working on a business plan.
Can you guys offer me some much needed wisdom?

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:39 PM   #2
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Check out probrewer

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Old 09-24-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Check out probrewer
Yeah, you'll get a lot more firsthand experience over there. However, without any experience even brewing at the homebrew level you are at a serious disadvantage. I'd suggest finding someone who has experience brewing professionally to act as brewmaster. Failing that, at least find someone who has brewed extensively at the homebrew level.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:58 PM   #4
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Yeah, you'll get a lot more firsthand experience over there. However, without any experience even brewing at the homebrew level you are at a serious disadvantage. I'd suggest finding someone who has experience brewing professionally to act as brewmaster. Failing that, at least find someone who has brewed extensively at the homebrew level.
Ha, Jamil Z just wrote a blog post about this very type of thing over on Heretic's Blog

Its not impossible, but brewing at a large volume does entail a lot of different challenges. Read and brew as much as possible before agreeing to this! Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jakesz28 View Post
A friend wants to start a micro brewery and restaurant. I'm still fairly new to all grain. But he asked me to look into equipment, grain, hops, and yeast cost. I'm wondering if any one here would be able to help me on some of these. This will be in the quad cities or maybe LeClaire IA. He is currently going to a culinary school.

I need to find some places to get the equipment. I'm thinking we would need to brew about a hundred gallons at time. This means we will need six kegs for each batch after it comes out if the fermenter. So in the start up phase I have to decide how many ferminters we need. Also how many kegs should I consider getting at start up?
I have looked at stout tanks and kettles three bbl system. But what other companies can I look at? There is a lot to this, I almost have to talk to someone that has done it and is willing to help, explain what they went thru and their start up cost.
I'm going to be all over here. It would be nice to have jacketed and cooled ferminters. Or would it be cheaper to cool a larger room and start off fermenting them all at the same temp?
I know I will need a larger walk in cooler for keg storage, a nice dry storage room, cooler for yeast, a way to store hops. This is going to be a big undertaken. He needs some good numbers to start working on a business plan.
Can you guys offer me some much needed wisdom?
Unless you want to brew multiple batches a day, I would really recommend purchasing a larger system especially as you will likely be selling a larger volume as part of a restaurant. A 3 bbl system is not going to be very economical or time efficient for you. Your partner needs to determine the estimated sales of kegs at the restaurant and also factor in volume sold for growlers, bottles, give aways (promotions), etc.

Jacketed fermenters seem to be the industry standard, however depending on the volume you're producing you would need to ensure that you have the storage space and capacities to handle that. A cool room will work fine for a 5 or 10 gallon batch, but when you're talking multiple BBLs in a fermenter you need to be able more accurately and efficiently control fermentation temps. Since you're selling a product it is very critical you have a good handle on this.

Check out probrewer. Also google "opening a microbrewery". You'll find a lot of different blogs with people in various stages. The costs are enormous and higher than most anticipate. Put together a business plan and see if it's viable.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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If you're in the Quad Cities stop by the Blue Cat Brew Pub. Most breweries and pubs are pretty accomodating in answering questions about that kind of stuff. I'm sure they would tell you what to do and what not to do...plus they have good beer and food.

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Old 09-25-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info and keep it coming.

He actual is the head cook at a place close by. I was thinking that I needed him to check on the draft sells there to try to come up with a number on what the sells in the restaurant could be. At this time there is no plan to bottle any. At first it will just be sold in the restaurant and growlers to go. Hopefully this will get us going and help the restaurant to bring in additional customers.

Probrewer looks like it has some good info to offfer. I will have to check out some of the blogs.

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Old 09-25-2012, 01:48 AM   #8
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I have to admit I have thought about opening a brewery. I have to admit I have not been brewing long enough to actually do it yet but it's kinda a dream. Would a hundred gallons at a time enough?

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:21 AM   #9
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If anyone here is seriously considering opening a production brewery or brewpub without having ever worked in the industry, I think you're absolutely nuts (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). There are a lot of successful breweries and brewpubs being opened by outsiders, but I haven't met a single one who doesn't think that things would have gone much smoother if they had spent some time at the ground floor first. You may not even like it; we have lots of enthusiastic volunteers spend a day on the commercial side and then we never see them again. Get a job at a brewery, take some professional brewing courses, and then ask yourself if that is really what you want and what it will take to own/found/operate a commercial brewery.

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Old 09-26-2012, 12:17 PM   #10
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Well the thought of the 3 or 3.5 bbl system was to keep start up cost lower and learn more. After doing some more research it looks like a 7naughty bbl is the smallest recommended and I found some estimated labor cost between starting with the smaller system and the 7bbl system.

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