With all the small batch pilot brewing I’ve been doing (with a little production-scale collaboration on the side), I’ve just been dreaming about the day I get to brew on a production scale again, and we are now one step closer to that happening as we put in our down payment for the brewhouse and tanks earlier this week!
After working with a few different equipment suppliers to design our equipment, we have settled on DME Brewing Solutions. They make top of the line brewing equipment and have been incredible partners in designing our future brewhouses (that’s right, brewhouses, plural) and tanks.
We are going to have two separate brewing systems, one which will cast out 30 barrel batches (930 gallons) for year-round and seasonal series, and a smaller 5 barrel brewhouse for one-off taproom releases, recipe development and limited release wild ales. Having these two different systems is really integral to what we’re trying to do at VBC. We want to be a packaging production brewery, but at the same time, embrace the taproom experience for our customers by providing an ever-changing tap list.
Coming from my more regimented production brewing background, I couldn’t be more excited for the creative freedom that the 5bbl system will allow for, while still having the capability to crank out relatively large batches of year-round and seasonal beers. It’s the creative freedom of a brewpub within a larger production brewery- the best of both worlds for a brewer and beer lovers!
As for our tank farm, we’ll be starting with four 60bbl fermentation vessels and four 5bbl fermentation vessels as well. At max throughput, which we probably won’t reach in the first year, that’s over 6,000 bbls/year of production with just our first round of tanks...and there’s plenty of room to add more capacity!
Installing two breweries in the same facility is not without it’s challenges, though. It makes for much more complex pipework, infrastructure and other engineering concerns in order to allow us to utilize some of the larger brewhouse’s support equipment, such as liquor tanks and grain handling, for the smaller brewhouse. We have a solid plan in place for how the process should flow, but it’s definitely more complex than your average start-up brewery or brewpub system. It should be a fun challenge and definitely worth the effort and expense for the wide variety of beers that having two systems will allow us to produce.
With our building and equipment set, here’s to BIG batches and taproom exclusive beers!