Boser Construction, Inc. (BCI) has a proud history of helping many businesses find their way.
While we typically manage the construction and pre-construction processes, we have helped clients with so much more in the process such as branding, business operations, financing, and general business discussions. When we discuss logistics of “how a business operates,” we often deep dive into how an industry and company operates as a whole so we can be a valued partner with sound ideas and comparisons.
One unique project type for us has been the brewing industry. We have constructed two different types of breweries through our own Design-Build process – a Tap Room and Brew House – and have been in discussions with more than ten other groups who desire to be a part of this industry.
In this article, I will discuss what BCI has learned about the brewing process and the importance of adding a valued member, such as BCI, to your team if your dreams and desires are to build your own brew house.
What Makes Brewery Construction Unique?
First and foremost, what makes the brewing & construction process unique? Breweries have high plumbing and mechanical demands. This includes boilers, multiple types of specialized piping, kettles, drums, chillers, augers, drains, and water flooding large amounts of your space. Cleaning, bottling, and storage processes need to be considered prior to even searching for your first space. We have to be able to get rid of a large amount of heat almost as fast as we make it.
Did we mention all the water? These projects need drains and water in many areas. Going into an existing building means we are cutting and reinstalling a lot of concrete and hopefully that concrete slopes in the right direction for us! This means we need to consider floor finish types.
Floor types need to meet the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Health’s standards for cleanliness and safety. Abrasion, durability, and resistance to chemicals all need to be considered. These types of flooring installers are unique and highly specialized as well. They will likely not be found at your local flooring store and unless you truly understand floor preparation, you should not even consider DIY.
More traditional construction items need to be considered as well as wall types, flashings, and construction materials. We have to ensure water is never allowed in sensitive areas.
Finally, we have to consider how brewers and their patrons will interact throughout the process to ensure safety is considered for everyone within the facility. How close patrons are allowed to interact with the brewing process dictates a lot of expenses. Separation walls and open concepts are often considered for various reasons and discussions about both should be had before you have picked your brewery location.
Brewery needs are all industrious in nature, however, we are often asked to consider breweries in condensed areas. Brewers tend to be a small group of friends, family, or partners looking to take passion to profession. Typically, these very brewers are extremely familiar with their craft and the process of making beer – the learning curve comes in the sheer size of this endeavor and the constraints due to clearances, processes, and industrial demands.
Complying with Strict Brewery Regulations
Now that we understand the large mechanical and plumbing demands, it should be easy from there – right? Did we mention regulations? In the state of Minnesota, there are two groups who govern breweries. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) control liquor licenses and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) or Department of Health (DOH) will have a lot of say in operations and facility. If you create a Tap Room, you will be governed by the DOA. If you build a Brew Pub, the DOH will govern. Both give unique opportunities, but also have unique requirements.
If you are unaware of the type of brewery you’d like to pursue, check out this link from Monroe, Moxness, and Berg Law Firm of Minneapolis. They have a thorough, in-depth description of these types of spaces.
We often say that construction is, in a simplistic form, quite simple. The complexity comes from the amount of tasks to be completed in a short time, creating effective production practices, and staying principled throughout the decision process. Constructing a brewing space especially puts emphasis on the latter principle statement forcing you to think about what is happening with every detail.
For someone that is looking to get in the brewery game, the important thing is to know that you need a champion for the process – someone who knows what they are doing and has gone through it. There also needs to be a team to bounce layout and design ideas off. We consider ourselves being both great team members and great leaders when called upon.