use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

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use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:32 pm

Hello,

I am homebrewing since a bit more than 2 years and with the BM20 since a bit less than a year. And I love to brew with my BM. I am interested in starting brewing commercially part-time with a minimum investment to limit the risk and also with an equipment I already know well to be efficient from the start. The aim is to see how my beers will be received by the very local consumers. So,at the start, I don't need a big production capacity. For example, the BM200 would be a bit too big and the investment is about 6 times more than the BM50 and the same for the corresponding fermenters and other equipments. I know I will not create a salary with using a BM50, but the aim is just to start and scale-up in few months or a year to a BM200. The aim is to use the BM50 for the more potentially successful beers and the BM20 for the more experimental beers.
I saw that Danibier (Danidrinks) in Switzerland was quite successful with his BM50, then BM200 and now he is scaling up to a 20hL brewhouse.
So, is there other BM50 user that are actually using it to produce beers that they sell ? Danibier, Hielbrew, and others, could you, please, give your feedback on your experience ?

A huge thanks in advance :cheers:
Kind regards,
Jacques.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby dinnerstick » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:29 pm

I don't so it myself but there are several small breweries in holland that use BM50's. Oersoep (nijmegen) brewed commercially for a few years on 2 or 3 BM 50's running in parallel before upgrading to a proper brewhouse. Brewpub van moll (eindhoven) runs 2 50's for all their pub brews. There are a couple others as well i think.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby perdido » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:44 pm

Cervezas Taifa in Seville is running two 50l BMs in a rather small commercial space.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:36 pm

Hi DDinnerstick and Perdido,

Thank you very much for your feedbacks. I will take note of those breweries and contact them when needed to try to know what is the best while commercially using a BM50 and especially what to avoid...

Thanks again,
Jacques.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby bruulog » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:16 am

Run the numbers. Your price per litre will be huge unless your time has no price. If you run 1 or 2 50l, 8 h of your day is gone and you produce 100 l of wort.
Now, you can use same time to produce 500 l or 2000 l. You still spend about the same time but you produce Z times more and so on.
I have no idea where you live and what is the average income over there.

(8 x hourly rate + malts + power + water + random expense) / X litres of wort
:cheers:
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby bhe » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:54 am

Don't forget the cost for bottles. Can be pretty huge...
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:47 pm

Hi Bruulog,

Of course, you are right, but investing in a BM200 or BM500 is not the same than a BM50. And you also have to consider all the rests, fermenters, that will also be more expensive for larger volumes.
The aim is to start slow with a small investment and grow up to BM200 and BM500. The problem when you go commercial is first to find the customers. I prefer to start small and see how the sells are going, if they go up then of course the aim is not to stay with a BM50.

Hi Bhe,

Yes, I made all my calculations, fixed costs and variables costs. The bottles are the more expensive in the variable. However, for a small production, this is the rent of the "workshop" that is by far the more expensive. But, this rent cost (per Liter) will drop with the increase of the production.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby bruulog » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:26 pm

Do not forget you need to get your equipment measured/calibrated and it will cost you arm and a leg. Then you need all the permits and you have to register you product at alcohol registry and you need a bar code etc. You also need to become a alcohol producer and a whole seller, you probably need to pay taxes upfront form what ever you have planned to produce. Your storage area and brewery has to be licensed and so on an on an on and on.
I almost went through all this BS, but decided to go for gypsy brew at someone else brewery.

It is absolutely pointless to make less than 500-600 l in one brew. Actually, anything below 1000 l of beer (1200+ l fermenter) at once is probably total waste of time and money - if it's a business. For hobby, 50-100 l is fine :)
And lets not forget, you need to market, sell and distribute your product too :)
I make my own copper/ss chillers (immersion) - 20l & 50l and counterflow (cfc)
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:26 pm

Wouldn't you be in the USA ...? Everything is bigger overthere.
Here there is plenty of microbreweries that produce 200hL or less per year. They are often "part-time" brewery; the owner/brewer has another main job. For those, the distribution is also very local, often less than 50km around or less.
Except the equipment calibration, which I don't think is required here, I took all the rest into account.
As said before, the aim is not to produce 50L batches for years. The aim is to get started small and scale-up as needed if the beers are successful. This is what every business should do if they have low investment budget and don't want to go straight in the wall.
If the business is not successful, I am ok with loosing 6000 Euros invested in a BM50 and all the stuff needed around it (fermenters, pump, ...). I am not ok with loosing much more than 30000 Euros if I would start straight with a BM500.
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Re: USe of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby bruulog » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:52 am

Don't get me wrong. I think it's a good idea if you have another source of income. Go for it. :)
In this part of EU, the paperwork and all the rest of the BS is complicated and expensive, it is just not worth the effort. Big breweries bought and paid for the law long time to kill off all the small and mid size breweries.
I make my own copper/ss chillers (immersion) - 20l & 50l and counterflow (cfc)
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Re: use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Crusty » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:47 pm

Jacques wrote:Hello,

I am homebrewing since a bit more than 2 years and with the BM20 since a bit less than a year. And I love to brew with my BM. I am interested in starting brewing commercially part-time with a minimum investment to limit the risk and also with an equipment I already know well to be efficient from the start. The aim is to see how my beers will be received by the very local consumers. So,at the start, I don't need a big production capacity. For example, the BM200 would be a bit too big and the investment is about 6 times more than the BM50 and the same for the corresponding fermenters and other equipments. I know I will not create a salary with using a BM50, but the aim is just to start and scale-up in few months or a year to a BM200. The aim is to use the BM50 for the more potentially successful beers and the BM20 for the more experimental beers.
I saw that Danibier (Danidrinks) in Switzerland was quite successful with his BM50, then BM200 and now he is scaling up to a 20hL brewhouse.
So, is there other BM50 user that are actually using it to produce beers that they sell ? Danibier, Hielbrew, and others, could you, please, give your feedback on your experience ?

A huge thanks in advance :cheers:
Kind regards,
Jacques.


It can be done.
There's a small Micro Brewery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland called Brew Bake. He has a 50lt BM & is a small commercial operator. He offers three beers on tap & also sells meat pies. He spent 20yrs working for Tooheys, one of Australia oldest & largest brewing companies. I personally think people wanting to start out commercially aim way too high & want to go too big too soon. It would be nice to brew 1,000lt a day but you have to sell the stuff. Three or four well made beers on tap & you've got it made. I'd certainly love to do it.
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Re: use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby BrauTim » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:10 am

It's a great idea to start small and slowly build a business up, I think we tend look at commercial brewers that just invest a sh*tload of cash so that within a year or so (of hard work) they could be making enough to provide a living wage for a single person. There are plenty that start this way and plenty that fail because they are on such a steep learning curve with no cash available for inevitable losses, then they have lost all their cash and end up having to find a day job.

However you can start really small, learn the ropes, the paperwork, the tax system, the distribution, the demand, the slow payments, dodgy landlords and middlemen etc etc, taking fewer risks with your cash and when you are confident enough and have an established market and reputation you can then drop a larger load of cash to go bigger with but with fewer risks and a better understanding of the risks and with almost no learning curve.

There is a book mostly aimed at the UK market but could apply universally as long as you take into account the different tax regimes "The Microbrewers Handbook" a good read, it put me off going commercial for sure, but then I have a reasonably comfortable day job and for me the risks are not worth the investment (at the moment).

Brewing in retirement may be a good proposition on a small scale, making enough to supplement a pension.
To brew or not to brew, that would be a stupid question !
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Re: use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:20 pm

Hi Crusty and BrauTim,
Thank you very much for your comments.
Cheers!
Jacques.
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Re: use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Fritzkellerbrau » Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:55 am

Hi Jacques

Your constraint will not be the BM but your fermenters and storage. For example, using the BM50 for one brew a day, five days a week, will produce 250l in fermenters. Minimum 14 days fermentation means you will have 500l in fermentation at peak.

Dirk
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Re: use of the BM50 for commercial brewing

Unread postby Jacques » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:38 am

Hi Dirk,

The aim would be maximum two 50l batches in one 120l fermenter per day, and two days per week maximum before to switch to a larger brewhouse (BM200 or 500). So minimum six 120l fermenters, a small "partially homemade" cold room and a homemade "warm" are in the plan. The idea is that finding customers and selling the beer are the more demanding at the begin, since there is none at the start. So, I plan to keep 2 to 2,5 days just for the sales.

Jacques.
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