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Hundreds of beer kegs in a brewery about to be transported

Has your brewery reached its capacity and needs to be relocated to a bigger location? 

Moving breweries is not an easy feat. A brewhouse is like a precision instrument—it has many moving parts that must be calibrated to make it work. That means when you relocate, you have to recalibrate it all over again.

We have compiled a few important things to consider to make the move more manageable:

1.Size of The New Location

How big your brewery is should depend on the size of your brew system, your annual production capacity, and the amount of barrels of beer you plan to brew every year. 

On average, the size of your brewery should be about 2.16 sq. ft. per barrel of yearly capacity. You should also be fine with 150 sq. ft. for the brewhouse and fermentation, but you’d need another 150 to 200 sq. ft. for the conditioning room. Of course, this space also depends on the type and size of equipment you will use.

Take note to provide a little extra space for expansion. It might be the furthest thing from your mind right now, but you might outgrow your new space sooner than you envisioned. So, if you don’t want to start from scratch all over again, make room for an expansion now. 

2. Consider Relocating to an Existing Restaurant

Relocating to an existing or what used to be a restaurant offers several advantages. 

First, you can expect the floor drains and sinks to be already in place. That way, you don’t have to cut through the floors to install new ones which will save you money. Plus, if you’re using the kitchen for the brewhouse, the flooring is likely the type that can endure getting wet on a regular basis—which happens often in a brewery.

The restaurant might also have a walk-in cooler which you can use to store your conditioning tanks. If the space isn’t big enough, then you can use it for your hops and kegs.

An existing kitchen space will also likely have the correct plumbing for some of the things you will need such as chemical and dry goods storage, mop sinks, dishwashing area, etc.

Restaurants usually have maximized heating and cooling to handle a large crowd of customers which is beneficial for the 200,000 BTU gas-fired burner you’ll be using for your brew kettle. They are also usually wired for greater electrical capacity because of refrigeration loads and your brewery would need about 200 to 400 amps.

3. Commercial Property Inspection

If the brick-and-mortar location you choose has been out of commission for some time, a general inspection will need to be conducted before you can safely operate your brewery. For example, things such as refrigerant lines on HVAC systems tend to break more easily after prolonged periods of time.

Moving breweries also requires hiring an electrician to check the current system and run everything before moving in. This way, all you have to do is plug in the equipment on your moving day. The electrician can also check on preinstalled refrigeration and other things that may be below code.

4. Placement and Design

Ideally, conditioning tanks must be placed as close to the bar area as possible. They should be located behind the bar so there’s a direct line from the tanks to the taps. Contact your local building inspector after you have designed your brewery so they can give your space a walk-through.

 Huge conditioning tanks behind the beer-tasting area

5. Permits, Licenses, and Legal Considerations

Moving breweries require appropriate licenses and permits as well—and what they depend on is where you’re planning to do your business. Does the city or county allow beer manufacturing in the new location? You have to check the local and state licensing requirements to confirm.

There are also other legal considerations that must be reviewed. One example is land use and zoning requirements for parking. Another is compatibility with local waste management systems. There’s also loading and unloading docks and the legality of the commercial venture on the premises to think of.

6. Downtime Planning

If you are required to get a new license at the new location, it’s important to know exactly how long it would take to get the license. This is because during this time, your brewery will be out of commission. Make sure you process it ahead of time.

Also, moving breweries with an electric nanosystem and a few small tanks that can be chilled in a portable chiller won’t be that hard, problematic, or long. But 3BBL (beer barrels) with large tanks and a full chiller installation will likely cost you two weeks of production. 

To stay in production with little downtime, your facility should be ready before the move. Then, move your brewhouse first after filling the tanks and then move the tanks as they empty.

7. Hire a Trusted Mover

And not just any mover, but a company that specializes in moving breweries or freight for the craft beer industry. These companies can help evaluate and prepare your new location, assess the equipment that needs to be moved, and arrange to uninstall, rig, transport, and reinstall equipment to its new home.

A brewery owner and a logistics manager consulting on moving breweries

Brew Movers: Moving Breweries Is Our Forte

Moving breweries can be time-consuming and costly, but with the right logistics company, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Brew Movers have years of expertise moving freight for the craft beer industry. We provide an integrated logistic management service so you can relocate your brewery without interrupting your beer production.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.