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Old 01-30-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
permo
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Default On the verge of distributing beer

North Dakota is on the verge of passing a self distribution law that would allow me finally, to sell my beer to people and to pubs. I currently have three pubs interested and I have a ton of questions about equipment.

I currently have 28 five gallon kegs saved up. They are ball lock. Is this a standard in the industry?


Is it at all common for distributed brewers to use batch sparging on a larger scale?

I am considering using three 120 quart coolers as mash tuns and a series of 20 gallon pots to make 6 half barrell batches out of a single mash. Different hops, yeast, etc..etc....etc.... out of the same mash/wort.

I am not sure how to scale my process up effectively.

Does anybody have any suggestions?

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
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I've never seen a bar that uses ball lock cornies for beer. Typically they're built for sanke kegs. Cornies are a staple in the homebrew industry only because large numbers of them became available cheaply when the soda pop industry switched its distribution mechanisms.

Fermentation is likely going to be your limiting factor, not mash and boil equipment. Even a one barrel brewhouse can put out huge quantities of beer if it can find a way to ferment and clear it all.

Good luck!

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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I'll echo what MalFet said. You'll likely need to look into sanke kegs unless you can convince the local pubs to invest in dispensing equipment for ball lock kegs. They'll likely not go for that since you're talking about only 5-gals per keg. I know it's a PITA, but have you considered bottles if the law allows it?

Also, you may want to look to upgrade your equipment to produce larger batches. Fermentation is going to be your limiting factor here as MalFet has said. If you can obtain at least a few 1 - 3 BBL fermenters you'll be in better shape. I suspect you'll have way more demand than you can supply especially with three pubs interested.

Congrats though! That is a tremendous change in the laws and I wish NC would consider something similar - it would be a great stepping stone to a nano-brewery. I would imagine it would be much easier to obtain funding and loans if you can show the banks the demand and orders lined up.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Freedoms like this would allow for the local character to return to beers rather than being dominated by macro breweries and big distributors. I hope this is a growiing trend! Write your member of Congress!

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:49 PM   #5
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Dont confuse the state allowing self distribution from the more onerous Federal alcohol laws. You will still need to be licensed with the TTB http://www.ttb.gov/beer/qualify.shtml

If you are already past those steps, then yes removing the three tier system is a great thing and allows for a more free market.

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:30 PM   #6
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You would be fine with the corney's if you have the disconnects that are threaded. Just unthread the sanke fitting and put your gas and liquid on, similar to giving the bar a tap handle. Easy peasy.

Good Luck!

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:33 PM   #7
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I'm not sure that you're understanding the law correctly. You likely still have to be a licensed brewery, and as pointed out above, you certainly need federal licensing. Self-distribution refers to the state allowing licensed breweries to distribute without having to contract out the service to a 3rd party distributor.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
I'm not sure that you're understanding the law correctly. You likely still have to be a licensed brewery, and as pointed out above, you certainly need federal licensing. Self-distribution refers to the state allowing licensed breweries to distribute without having to contract out the service to a 3rd party distributor.
Yes, you still need the federal license, but if you are under 25000 barrels in ND you no longer have to use a distributer. The is bill is currently going through a committee for review, but it has the support of our three distributers, so it is likely to pass since they have all the power.

I know there is lots of red tape and unanswered questions but it looks like ND is taking a step in the right direction.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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It sounds like you'd still be a liscensed brewery in ND, not just a homebrewer then? I'd suggest you ask questions on the pro brew talk forum - I don't remember the link sorry. This certianly would reduce an obstical to becoming a brewery.

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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One big obstacle you seem to have not mentioned is having a commercial kitchen space. I don't know how the law reads, but from what I have seen/read, its not likely you will be able to crank out batches from your garage.

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