It’s fun and exciting to experiment with beer brewing. Beer is an exciting product because you can get many different flavors with just a few raw materials and simple tools. But the step from hobby brewing to industrial production can be a huge step.
If you are considering making a living by brewing beer, get answers to the basic questions here. And call or write to us afterwards to find out more. We advise and guide you on brewing facilities, premises, supply of electricity, water, gas and CO2, requirements from the authorities, bottling, financing and much more – free of charge.
1. How much beer do we need to brew to make a living?
Our equipment is intended for industrial production and commercial business. It is basically overkill for most homebrewers and brewers’ guilds. We instead refer hobby companies to our colleagues at Hjemmebryggeren.dk and Brewolution.dk. In the following, we talk about brewing beer for a living.
Generally, you must brew 80,000 to 100,000 liters of beer per year, so that a single brew master can create a reasonable livelihood with his brewery. In addition to efficient production, turnover and earnings are dependent on whether you can sell or serve the beer yourself in your own premises. Distribution and resale take a large part of the profit.
2. How big a brewhouse do we need for a start?
You can start from scratch with a manual brewery with two vessels at 500 liters. However, a 500-liter brewery should be prepared for two brews per day. We recommend a minimum of 1,000 liters (10HL) to have future-proof platform. We also recommend three vessels (mash tun, lauter tun and whirlpool/boiler) to be more efficient by creating a better workflow and produce more beer in the process.
It is not necessarily more future-proof to start with a brewing plant with large batch sizes (20-30-40HL) – unless you must brew large quantities of the same beer. Most microbreweries benefits from brewing many different kinds of craft beers. Should one or two of the beers become particularly popular, you can instead buy larger fermenters and brew several times to fill the larger fermenter.
Brewing plants of 10HL and above are all prepared to brew half batches.
We also recommend a hot water tank (HLT, Hot Liquid Tank) to reuse the hot water from the cooling process. A HLT will also supply hot water for sparging to utilize all the sugars in the lautering process. The hot water is used to quickly start the next brew when you brew two batches right after each other. A HLT must typically be twice as large as the brewery itself, i.e., 20HL (2,000 litres) HLT for a 10HL (1,000 litres) brewing system.
3. Which brewing principle should we choose?
There are mainly two different types and methods of brewing in a two-vessel brewery.
One is a combined mash tun and lauter tun – plus a kettle/whirlpool (we call it a simplified American method). That method only allows you to mash in one step and possibly make a decoction where you take the first herb, heat it up and return it to the lauter tun.
The second type and method are combined mash tun, kettle and whirlpool in one vessel. The second vessel is the lauter tun. It allows you to mash in several steps.
A three-vessel system consists of mash tun, lauter tun and kettle/whirlpool. It is more efficient and allows you to brew several times in a day if you combine the brewery with a hot water tank.
In a four-vessel brewery, the boiling vessel and the whirlpool are separate tanks. This results in even more efficient production – more brews per day.
We typically recommend breweries with smaller batch sizes and more efficient setups, so it is possible to make many different types of beer in small quantities and at the same time scale up by brewing several batches one after the other efficiently and with the least possible effort. Our breweries can be prepared to brew half batches by agreement – and at no additional cost.
4. Which standard versions of breweries do you have?
There is no one-fits-all in microbreweries. All breweries and other equipment are adapted to the customers’ individual wishes, premises and demands.
We are happy to come to your premises for a non-binding chat about possibilities and limitations. Don’t hesitate to call us early in your planning process. This way we can help you avoid costly and troublesome mistakes.
Guiding and individual adaptations do not cost extra – this is our way of working.
5. How many fermenters (CCT) do we need?
Fermenter tanks are usually called a CCT. It stands for Cylinder-Conical Tank and is a combined fermenting and storage tank – sometimes called a unitank. A CCT can control both pressure and temperature in the fermentation and storage process.
A fermenter farm consists of several CCTs with central control and cooling system.
As a rule of thumb, a CCT can usually handle ten brews per year in continuous production. This means that each 10HL CCT corresponds to an annual production of 10,000 liters of beer.
Many microbreweries choose to start with a smaller number of CCTs and add with more CCT’s as production and earnings increase.
6. How much does a brewhouse (the brewing unit itself) cost?
The smallest brewery we provide is 100L. It has three brewing vessels (M+L+K/W) and HLT of 200L and costs a little over DKK 100,000 + VAT.
A manual 500L brewery with three vessels and HLT costs approximately DKK 400,000. Add approximately DKK 80,000 for a control panel with buttons (PID-control) or approximately DKK 200,000 for automatic computer control (PLC). The control also includes temperature control of fermenters (CCTs). Remember to prepare the control for the maximum number of CCTs that you expect to reach during the lifetime of the brewery.
7. What kind of investment can we expect?
In addition to the brewing plant itself, you must calculate fermenters (CCT’s) for fermentation and storage. See point 3 and check the prices of CCTs here.
Steam generator if the brewery is heated with steam instead of electricity. We recommend steam for breweries of 10HL and above. As a rule of thumb, the amount of steam should be 10 times the size of the plant. That is 100kg of steam per hour for a 10HL brewery.
Cooler for the CCTs. A cheap cooler for a draft beer plant can cool a single, smaller CCT. A fermenter park requires a central cooling system. As a rule of thumb, calculate XX times the total capacity of the fermenter farm in hectoliters (HL) – measured in kW. Find the specifications of our chillers here.
If you plan to let the fermenter park grow with the need, remember to make a plan for control and cooling for the expected size of fermenter park.
We can produce piping for cooling together with production of the CCTs for a small additional price.
The equipment is delivered to the doorstep. You must also calculate costs for installation – especially costs for an electrician. We always help with instructions, advice, and guidance for installation before, during and after purchase. We can also provide a total installation (turnkey brewery).
Remember bottling equipment for kegs, bottles, or cans – as well as facilities for date printing on labels and affixing labels.
8. How much space does a brewery require?
Difficult question that depends on many things. The brewery itself takes a small part of the room in an industrial brewing plant. Fermenters (CCTs), bottling, raw materials (malt, bottles etc) and finished products take up quite a bit more. We can tailor the equipment precise to your premises. We have delivered several special tanks that could be squeezed through narrow doors and stairs into low-ceilinged spaces in basements, garages and even in buildings with several floors.
It is free to design and draw brewing equipment with us. It can be expensive to make cheap solutions in the first run . Use our advice and guiding right from the start – we’re happy to help, and it’s free to learn more from us.
9. What is requirements from the authorities?
In Denmark it is permitted to brew beer for own consumption and distribution to friends and family without being subject to special requirements from the authorities. If you want to put your beer on sale to the public, the authorities set several requirements.
10. Which rules must we comply with?
A – You must pay tax on alcohol. It is a modest amount but remember to be registered at the Tax Office.
B – Your production equipment and premises must meet several hygiene requirements set by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. The rules can be difficult to specify because they are handled differently by the local Food and Beverage Authority. But it is certain that all materials that encounter the beer must be approved for food production – and you must document this. All our equipment is approved, and you can freely download documentation on our website. In addition, the authorities usually requires that the floor, walls and ceilings must be washable and without cracks or peeling. The production also requires for clothing.
Always start a brewery project by contacting the local department of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, get registered and get guidance.
C – Packaging and labels must meet several requirements for recycling, administered by the Dansk Retursystem (Danish Recycle System.) Be aware that the costs of handling glass bottles are very high, around two kroner per PCS. Aluminum cans cost only a few cents to put into circulation. We are happy to supply dedicated bottling lines for both bottles and cans from Italian or Eastern European manufacturers.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get cheaper manual and semi-automatic bottling equipment for cans. We are well supplied with smaller bottling systems for glass bottles. We are working to find suppliers of smaller bottling equipment for cans. In our opinion, cans are the future.
Remember to be registered at Dansk Retursystem in advance.
11. Do we need to have a brewing education?
No, you are welcome to brew and sell beer without formal training. Many do.
We are happy to help you get started – or provide contact to professional brewers who can assist you in the initial phase. Danish microbreweries are more colleagues than competitors, so you will always find good advice and help in the microbrewing community.
Be aware that you can be held liable for food products that make consumers sick. Hygiene is a crucial part of beer production. In the industry, they jokingly say that 80 percent of the working time is spent cleaning – this is of course an exaggeration. But hygiene is a big part of the job.
Depending on how often you brew, the brewing system must be cleaned thoroughly. It is called CIP (Cleaning In Place) and means that tanks, pipes, valves, hoses and other production equipment are flushed with hot water, lye or other disinfectant. You can do it with the pumps and hoses you already have. We also sell special CIP systems with tanks which is more thoroughly and makes it possible to reuse the expensive cleaning agents.
12. Can we import a brewery from China ourselves?
You are welcome to do it yourself. But we suggest that you examine things carefully in detail. Some of our customers have “burnt their fingers” on cheap and defective brewing equipment and have later come to us to “save the scraps.” We do of course help in these cases.
In our web shop, you will find the most common fittings for brewing equipment, and the range is constantly expanding.
Our breweries and connected equipment are also from China, but from a solid supplier and business partner (Zyb Craft), with whom we have a years-long and trusting collaboration. We know that materials, welding, design, etc. are in good quality and meet the requirements from the authorities. You will find valid certificates on our equipment. Bryggeriudstyr ApS is certified to issue CE-mark on our breweries in accordance with the EU-requirements.
Pressure tanks are supplied with certificates according to the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED regulations).
If something goes wrong – and it happens now and then – Zyb Craft is always covering our back. In cooperation with Zyb Craft, we solve the problems and get your production plant and your production up and running.
13. How about money and payment?
It is expensive to establish and expand a microbrewery. Production equipment for commercial beer brewing requires extensive installation (electricity, gas, C02, refrigeration and steam), so it is even expensive to replace and resell. In addition, many facilities are “tailored” to local conditions.
Together with a large business risk of running a microbrewery, many banks and financial leasing companies hesitate to lend money to microbreweries. And that is why we and our suppliers require payment in advance – this is standard for industrial production equipment. Our terms are standard with payment of 50% when placing the order and the last 50% after production and BEFORE transport from suppliers to you.
We cannot dispense with that practice because our suppliers also require advance payment. We are not a bank.
That is why your ownership and previous years’ accounts mean a lot to you, when you are going to borrow money. It is difficult to lend to microbreweries that are based on many public shares and do not have one or more major shareholders with money. Or/and have good results from previous years.
Some breweries start small and grow organically by continuously investing the profits in improving and expanding the facility. It can easily be done, but it is a great advantage to plan in advance to avoid expensive replacement or reconfiguration of the equipment.
14. Do you help with financing?
We are happy to advise on financing – and the gradual establishment and expansion of the brewery as your economy grows. We also have experience with applications to foundations and EU pools, which we are happy to share.
We have good cooperation with several leasing companies that provide industrial leasing. Our products are of course well defined so that they meet the requirements of the leasing companies.
15. What is the guarantee on a brewery from you?
We guarantee a 12-month warranty on production defects at breweries. 24 months for fermenters (CCT and BBT). We always advise and help – even after the warranty has expired.
All our equipment is delivered with certificates that confirms it can be used for food production in accordance with EU regulations.
Pressure equipment as fermenters (CCT’s) and BBT’s of 500 liters and above are also supplied with the necessary pressure certificates (PED directive) from an approved independent testing body (3rd party.)
We ourselves are certified to approve compliance with EU, so we CE-approve equipment and breweries ourselves.
16. Do you install the brewery?
The actual price for brewing equipment basically covers delivery to your address (doorstep). When it comes to complete breweries, we empsy the containers, just as we test the brewery thoroughly after installation, assist with the first cleaning (CIP) and produce the first brew. You are responsible for the actual installation and the costs of the necessary craftsmen.
Our breweries are carefully marked up, so they are easy to collect. We and our supplier are on the sidelines all the way with advice and guidance – you will not be left behind when you get in trouble.
Don’t underestimate the task and time consumption when a brewery must be assembled, installed, and commisioned. It is a large and time-consuming job. We prefer to install fully automated breweries ourselves.
Do you want us completely or in part to be responsible for installation, we are happy to give a price for the work. Expect the expenses for a full installation will be 10 to 15 percent of the price of the brewery itself. The job implies many working hours and expenses for local craftsmen.
17. Can you deliver abroad?
We supply and install breweries, distilleries etc. to customers in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
Together with our partner and supplier, Zyb Craft, we supply breweries, distilleries, and other beverage equipment worldwide.
18. Do you have references?
We have installed entire breweries to quite a lot commercial Danish microbreweries such as e.g., Ilulissat (Greenland), Frederikshavn Bryghus, Small Batch (Bornholm), Nørrebro Bryghus (Reffen), Esbjerg Bryghus and Deeper Roots (Nykøbing Sjælland). We have supplied fermenters and other production equipment to a lot of the Danish microbreweries and individual customers in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
Read more about our references here.
You are of course welcome to check our references – write to us for contact information.
Our partner, Zyb Craft, has supplied microbreweries all over the world. Read more at Zybrew.beer.
MT – Mash Tun, mashing tank
LT – Lauter Tun, strainer
K – Kettle or Boiler, cooking vessel
W – Whirlpool
PHE – Plate Heat Exchanger
HLT – Hot Liquid Tank, hot water tank
CCT – Cylindric Conical Tank or fermenter tank. Also called unitank.