Want to start your own microbrewery? Here’s what you need to know…
Microbreweries are exploding at the moment … not literally, thankfully! The UK drinks industry is booming in the UK, with craft brewers everywhere concocting their own individual flavours.
Did you know that there are now in excess of 2,000 UK microbreweries in production? But, like any product, you’ll want to produce quality over quantity, and it’s clear that running a microbrewery can be a very energy-intensive process.
A major problem that any entrepreneur will encounter when launching their own artisan beer is energy supply (especially if they’re off mains), and how to minimise costs. In this article, LPG energy supplier Flogas has some advice for those looking to kick-start their own successful brewery.
It’s all about the hops!
Of course, having the right equipment is important, but just as crucially the ingredients you opt for will dramatically impact the flavour and consistency of your beer. The beauty is that, with so many variations available, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating something really unique. But not matter how distinctive the taste, you’ll find all craft beer is made up the following key components:
- Water - It may sound obvious, but water makes up around 90 percent of any beer. The pH and mineral content of your chosen water, as well as if it’s hard or soft, can also affect the end result.
- Barley – This ingredient will have a big impact on the alcohol percentage of your beer and can dramatically affect the body, taste and aroma of your finished product.
- Hops – All beers have their own distinctive tastes, and this is often a result of the hops. There are around 170 variations, meaning there’s plenty of choice when it comes to playing with flavour.
- Yeast - An invisible but key ingredient to any good beer – yeast has been used in beer brewing for centuries. Did you know though that yeast is basically a fungus that eats the sugars created in the malting process? By allowing it to ferment and feed off the sugars, alcohol is created as a byproduct.
What equipment will you need?
Passion is a must, but to keep your microbrewery going, you’ll also need to turn a profit before you go out of business!
Choosing an energy strategy that will reduce your usage and keep costs down can play a big part in keeping your fledgling business afloat. Microbreweries can be notoriously difficult to get off the ground financially, so by doing this, you can help boost your company’s profit margins.
Before anything you’ll also need the right equipment to get you started. One of the main components in the brewing process is the mash system, which is commonly made up of the following:
- Mash tank – Steeps barley into hot water and converts grain starches into fermentable sugars
- Lauter tun – Separates the wort (or liquid) from the solids of the mash (much like a sieve)
- Steam generator – Heats the kettle, which is then brought to a controlled temperature before the hops are added
- Malt mill – Crushes the grain in preparation for brewing
- Wort Pump - Re-circulates the mash for a higher efficiency, enhancing the clarity and quality of the brew
- Plate Heat Exchanger/Wort Chiller – Quickly cools the hot wort ready for fermentation
And this is just the mashing stage. Further to this, you’ll need a fermentation system (where yeast is added and sugar turns into alcohol), a cooling system (to prevent bacteria growth and where beer can be stored ready for sale), a filtering system (to get rid of sediment for a higher-quality product) and, of course, not forgetting the sterilisation equipment (to ensure that bacteria doesn’t spoil your next batch of beer).
How will you power your microbrewery?
Launching your own microbrewery is no easy feat. Along with all the complications of the brewing process, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is extortionate energy prices, or an unreliable supply.
Whether you’re connected to the grid and need a highly competitive, commercial gas deal, or you’re operating in a rural location and you’re looking for a dependable LPG supply, make sure you choose wisely.
If you are considering LPG, (and are currently using oil or solid fuels), it’s worth noting that LPG e.g. a bottle or LPG cylinder, is a cleaner, cheaper and more efficient fuel– one that could bring you major savings on your energy costs. With the lowest CO2 emissions of any fossil fuel, it’ll also mean a lower carbon footprint for your microbrewery.