A micro brewery is technically defined as producing less than 15,000 barrels per year, and/or a brewery that only distrubues beer in a specific locaiton. This is flexibile though, as there are several characteristics that seperate a micro brewery from a brewery, other than just production output volume.
Micro brewery's are often owned and run by either a partnership (consisting of 2 or 3), or a family. This means that the head brewer is also often an owner, and few staff are employed. Usually some support staff will assist with various tasks, but the majority of the business is run 'inhouse'.
From a beer viewpoint, a lot of the work is done by hand. Production lines and automation are basically unheard of, with a lot of manual work required. This is how micro breweries like it though, as it allows them to follow, and modify, the beer along the whole brewing journey. This setup also allows for test batches to be made easily, as well as completly new beers, without interupting normally brewing, or requiring costly retooling & retraining. This setup also lends itself well to seasonal beers - something which the large brewery's cannot do.
There are three distinct ways that micro brewery's are created.
- Buying an existing micro brewery
- Setting up a micro brewery from scratch
- Borrowing equipment from a larger brewery
Number 1 is the easiest and quickest, but also the most expensive. Pre existing brewery's will either be self contained, or they new owner will move all of the equipment from the previous owner's location, to their own. This method's allows production to commence almost immediatley, but it does mean that the equipment decisions have already been made, and are costly to change.
Number 2 is the most rewarding, and allows for the greatest flexibility, but is also the most expensive. Equipment is often brought in stages, allowing for testing and developement over time. There are two reasons this is more expensive, the first being that buying equipment at retail price is more expensive than buying bulk second hand equipment. Secondly, it does take longer to get actually start producing sellable beer, which means income is delayed. An example of this is Red Duck
Number 3 is the cheapest method, but also has the least flexibility. Equipment is usually leased from a larger brewer after hours, or old unused equipment is leased. As the equipment does not belong to the micro brewer, no much in the way of tweaking and tuning is permissable. There is the advantage of using known good equipment, as it is also used to make large scale beers. Some micro brewery's use this a stepping stone to owning their own micro brewery, as they can raise capital. An example is Mountain Goat.
Pages in category "Micro brewery"
The following 24 pages are in this category, out of 24 total.