Top 10 Things to Know about Brewery Design
06 16 2020
Since 2014 Arium AE has assisted dozens of breweries across the Mid-Atlantic. These breweries have ranged in size and type including: nano, farm breweries, cideries, distilleries, brew pubs, and full scale production facilities. We often get asked about the top often over looked aspects of designing a brewery and so we took a few minutes to list the top 10 items we’ve seen. While Breweries are just a small part of what we do here at Arium, we very much enjoy being a small contributing part to the collaborative industry. We are also currently working on a post COVID 19 list of impacts to brewery design. Look for that soon. (Download PDF here)
1- Building suitability and Neighboring tenants
Who is sharing the leased building and what is the nature of their business? Depending upon a number of factors, buildings may be limited to the number of new assembly spaces. An architect can assist you with this calculation. Be wary of information provided by building owners, brokers, and government business liaisons.
2- Zoning and Parking – Building Change of Use
The jurisdiction will classify certain zones in which breweries can exist based on their classification. Changes to zoning regulations take months to years not weeks. Many jurisdictions require parking calculations when a new business use occupies a space. Parking availability can create challenges for buildings that were not designed for these particular uses in mind.
3- Fire Protection – Is the building sprinklered?
While a sprinkler may not be required, having one will provide you more flexibility in the design of the space. Requirements for sprinklers vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction so be mindful of the local regulations.
4- Grain Room – Milling on Site?
Each jurisdiction sets requirements for milling rooms and grain storage and slight variations can introduce unexpected costs. Consider the evolution of your milling and grain operation and work with an architect who is familiar in presenting this information to the local jurisdiction.
5- Building Utilities
Mechanical / Plumbing
• Was your HVAC system designed to accommodate the anticipated occupant load of the Brewery? Assembly spaces require certain quantities of fresh air that is based on the anticipated number of people in the space. A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need 1 Ton of cooling per 150SF of Taproom and 1 ton of cooling per 300SF of production brewing space (if conditioned). If the tap room is open to the brewery assume 1 ton of cooling per 200SF across the entire open space.
• It is likely that you’ll need to increase the number of existing toilet fixtures within the space to match the increased number of occupants. If the previous tenant was a restaurant or other similarly occupied space this may not be the case. How and where
• Upgrading an electrical service is expensive and can take time. Size requirements vary by equipment. Assume a minimum of 208v 3 Phase. A 7-20 BBL system will required 200-400 Amps. Make sure to allow for future growth such as canning lines. We typically plan a minimum of 50 Amps for future equipment growth.
• If the electrical service is upgraded – take note of the relationship between the building electrical room and your suite. The further you are from the building electrical room, the more costly the upgrade will be.
• Building Sanitary line locations relative to desired trench drains and RR locations should be evaluated along with the depth and condition of the sanitary line.
• Confirm with local jurisdictions for any requirement for a waste monitoring port.
• Be mindful of the material used in the existing lines and the temperature of liquid you will be disposing of. Cast Iron can typically handle higher temps than PVC.
• Quality – Will filtration be required?
• Quantity – Will you have water on demand when needed
• Often requires an upgrade
• Where will the boiler be located, how will it be vented?
• Are you installing a kitchen? Your jurisdiction may require an inground grease trap. There are functional and cost considerations to consider with regard to this device size and location.
6- Acoustics and smells
Brewery Taprooms and production spaces can be loud and sometimes they smell. An appreciation for these characteristics is not always uniform. Depending upon the type of building your space is in and the neighboring tenants, you may be required to take measures to mitigate noise and or smells from your facility. Your Architect and Engineer can assist you with evaluation of the cost and performance of sound absorption and air scrubbing technologies that both your neighbors and your patrons will appreciate.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal Law that is enforced by the Department of Justice, and not by the local jurisdiction. It is important to note that any user can file a claim for a violation of a space. There is no such thing as a ‘grandfathered in’ property and the nuances are many and complicated on how you can navigate challenges with accessibility of your space.
8- Open or closed Taproom
The market is fairly divided with regards to the desire for the tap room to be directly open to or separated from the brewhouse. In addition to visibility and tours, breweries must also consider health and safety of the occupants. As mentioned above, having a fully sprinklered building may help provide more flexibility for those that wish for the taproom to be open. In buildings that require separation, architects may choose to utilize fire shutters to minimize the cost of glass and still provide the visual impact of the brewhouse. Where an open taproom/brewing area is desired, breweries should also consider additional cooling required for the much larger space.
9- Sloped Brewing Cellar
One significant decision point with regard to the design of the brewery is the location is the decision to slope the brewing cellar floors to trench drains. Experienced brewers will quickly tell you that adequately designed sloped floors increases productivity in the brewery. A sloped brewing cellar will require planning to accommodate the raised floor slab and location of trench drains as well as plans for future expansions of equipment within a space that can accommodate all modes of vehicle and foot traffic. Landlords will often require that upon exiting the leased space the floor be returned back to its original condition. Other more labor intensive but least costly alternatives may include plans to squeegee water to trench drains and or spill berms…There is a bit more flexibility systems but certainly a lot more labor.
10- Structural Considerations
Roofs are rarely designed to accommodate additional equipment. Equipment on the roof or suspended from the roof will likely require a structural evaluation and possibly structural reinforcement.
Locating equipment on grade may avoid structural modifications to the building but may also add additional site plan reviews.
11- COVID 19
I know…we said 10, but who expected COVID 19? How does COVID 19 affect the planning of your brewery? See our next blog post which addresses this topic.