Decisions, decisions… Choosing the Right BrewhousePosted on Oct 13, 2011
We’ve been spending a lot of time wading through the options for our brewing system. Anyone involved in craft brewing today knows that used equipment is very hard to come by and is typically overpriced. We’ve circled around on that issue for a while and ultimately decided that we should select some good, new equipment. Fortunately, it appears that Portland is the beer equipment capital of the US. We’ve sent out quote requests to all the usual suspects and a couple that we weren’t familiar with. We’re looking for a 15 Barrel system that can support a production level of around 5000-6000 barrels at capacity. We feel like that is the best size for a small production facility like ours.
The quotes we’ve gotten back have a pretty wide range of costs and features. In typical engineering geek tradition, we’ve created a spreadsheet to keep track of each quote and to compare the pros and cons of each system. We’ve also made several trips to Portland to visit manufacturers and get a feel for what they’re all about.
Basically these systems are manufactured by small teams of welders in very industrial settings. Each company seems to place a different emphasis on functionality of design vs. aesthetics. We’ve basically decided that we’re looking for the Subaru of brewing systems, not the Ferarri. We want it to be highly functional, reliable, and to make great beer, but don’t really care if it is a work of art. This has led us to narrow the field down to just a couple options. Our loan should be coming through shortly and hopefully our lease shortly thereafter, so our goal is to be ready to pull the trigger when those planets align. It’s about to get really fun.