Don't let your craft brewing production go flat.
A reliable source of carbon dioxide will ensure your craft brewery is properly equipped.
From bottles, hops and labels, to specialty bar stools and décor for your new brewery, it is surprisingly common for a new brewer to overlook a key component to the brewing process and business: finding a reliable supply of carbon dioxide (CO2). Behind all of the glitz and glamour of a shiny new brewery location, carbonation is a necessity to create your craft brew. Luckily, there are three easy steps to ensure your facility is always equipped with the proper amount of carbon dioxide.
1. Location, location, location!
Brewers should have a solid location plan in place when opening a new facility, whether it’s their very first storefront and brewery or the second in their business. Having a strong sense of your surroundings at a new location is key to the success of your brewery - from smooth wholesaler pickups and vendor deliveries to an easy-to-find address for customers. Consider drop off areas and locations where your vendors and suppliers will be able to safely and easily make deliveries. Can your suppliers safely access delivery bays for your gases and other raw materials? If so, you’ve done your homework.
With a top-notch location secured and new construction blueprints in development, brewers should remember to plan for a safe, accessible and dedicated space for the carbon dioxide tank or tanks, whether they’re located inside or outside. Your vendor should help you place the tanks safely. It is important to keep in mind that a reliable and knowledgeable carbon dioxide partner should install a carbon dioxide monitor for every bulk tank location to ensure the safety of everyone in the surrounding area.
What is a CO2 monitor? This monitor is used in beverage dispensing areas and storage rooms to detect the levels of carbon dioxide in the air. These rooms are typically smaller and are considered confined spaces, so extra precautions are necessary to ensure a safe environment. Carbon dioxide is considerably heavier than air, so it will sink to the lowest points of the room while trying to dissipate. If the carbon dioxide levels in the room reach an unsafe amount, alarms will sound to alert everyone in the surrounding building and area. These monitors can save lives. Safety should be a top priority, particularly when carbon dioxide tanks are involved.
2. Plan Ahead for Success
If your brewery will also include a pub, restaurant or bar tasting area, these areas need to be taken into consideration when deciding where to place your carbon dioxide tanks within the brewery.
Based on your two or three year plan, it is safe to say a new brewer will need an estimated seven to ten pounds of carbon dioxide for one U.S. barrel of product produced. Talk to your supplier if you’re also accounting for bar areas. Account for growth when you are designing a new space or expansion to your business. If you plan to do the following in the next few years, make sure you tell your suppliers so you have the proper carbon dioxide tank setup ready to go:
- Obtain larger vessel sizes that can brew more beer
- Add additional fermentation or bright tanks
- Upgrade canning or bottling lines
- Open an additional location
- Gain additional distribution
The most important rule of thumb when it comes to opening or expanding a brewery business is to plan for tomorrow’s issues today.
3. If your beer goes to market, make the call!
It would be a brewer’s dream come true to be approached by a mass wholesaler that wants to sell their brews across the country. With great achievement comes increased responsibility and preparedness. A major business opportunity such as this would heavily increase demand which, in turn, will require an increased supply of carbon dioxide.
If you are already brewing to capacity and in need of more carbon dioxide than you initially planned for, it is time to pick up the phone and revisit your plan with your trusted supplier.
How do you know you have found the right supplier for this type of growth? A representative should sit down and talk through strategies with you and help you plan for the future, which should include optimizing a delivery schedule that will not interfere with your brewing
production cycle because remember, time is money. If you are waiting on an emergency delivery of carbon dioxide, cans, bottles, cardboard, labels or any of your other brewery needs, your production and cash flow will come to a screeching halt.
Once established, revisit this plan yearly to ensure you are staying on top of your goals, product and schedule so that you and your vendors can avoid surprises that could affect your business moving forward.
According Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewer’s Association, nearly 1,000 breweries opened in the United States in 2017. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of a competitive market when you let small mistakes get in the way of your success.
Of course, opening a new location for a brewery is exciting. However, designing packaging and mapping a floor plan for your tasting room is all fun and games until you come to the realization that you didn’t plan for all crucial parts of your business formula – the carbon dioxide and other necessary ingredients and tools you will need to create the magic.
Rest assured that as long as you check “carbon dioxide supplier” off of your list early in the process and have continued communication with your representative, you should be on the path to success in no time with a strong, reliable partner on your side.
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