One of the earliest struggles with our fledgling brewery was trying to determine how big the equipment should be.  We debated pros and cons of “small v large” well over 18 months ago.  Upon re-reading this post, it’s clear that we were conflicted at the time, being that a) there’s no definitive conclusion and b) we, well, sort of asked our readers to help us figure this one out.

Well, we figured it out.  The evidence is documented in the pictures of our 20 barrel brewhouse and 40 barrel fermenters below.  The equipment is still at the factory mind you, but is being readied for shipment as I’m writing this.

Mash/lauter tun
There were several contributing factors in this decision.  The first was our brewery location.  If we were located in a more remote location, we may have considered going a bit smaller.  But, being that we’re right smack in the middle of downtown, we expect we’ll have quite a bit of attention, and we just do not want to come up short and not be able to supply enough beer.

 Another factor was the exponentially growing interest in Buffalo craft beer.  As documented by us here, this may be the most exciting time for beer in Buffalo in possibly 100 years.  The news articles written about the return of brewing to Buffalo have frankly become too numerous to count.  Is this really the time to go small?

Finally, we are trying to put ourselves in a position to grow.  With all the great feedback we've received on our beer, with all the support we've gotten from yourselves, we have a lot of confidence in our abilities.   We know we are in this for the long haul.  Now, truthfully, we probably won’t be brewing very much on this system in the first year or so (we’re predicting maybe only once or twice a week), but we will have the capacity to begin growing as soon as we can.

Shiny stainless steel...

The equipment itself is pretty great.  We spent most of a day playing with it, moving water around, getting familiar with potential procedures.  It’s built for flexibility, and there’s a lot of cool stuff we’re going to be able to do with it.  There will be a learning curve, yes, but I’m confident we’ll climb it quickly.  Corey is currently spending 6 weeks at Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (recently rated one of the top 100 breweries in the world, oh yes) to get some introductory real world brewing experience before he heads off for a couple of weeks to Badger Mountain Brewing in the PNW to brew some beer on the same exact system we’ve purchased. 

The brewhouse in totality

Next, we need to finish construction to get this bad boy installed and the fermenters upright:  

Fermenters staged
Mirror finish - literally

Hopefully, we’ll be shortly passing those pictures by your eyes, to be followed by passing our beer by your lips.  Soon enough.  Cheers.