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Choosing and Working with Brewery Equipment Manufacturers

Brewing beer on a commercial scale requires specialized equipment and machinery. Partnering with the right brewery equipment manufacturer is crucial to building an efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality brewing operation. This comprehensive guide provides brewers with a detailed overview of the major equipment, considerations when selecting a fabricator, and best practices for collaborating with manufacturers.

Overview of Brewery Equipment Types and Function

Brewing equipment can be broadly categorized into hot side and cold side machinery. Here is a breakdown of the major equipment types and their role in the brewing process:

Equipment TypeDescriptionFunction
Mash TunInsulated stainless steel vesselMixing milled grains with hot water to extract sugars and convert starches
Lauter TunFiltering vessel with false bottomSeparating sweet wort from spent grains
Brew KettleBoils wort with hopsSterilizing, extracting flavors, coagulating proteins
WhirlpoolSwirling vesselSettling trub and coagulated proteins
Heat ExchangerPlates for heat transferCooling boiled wort quickly
Fermentation TanksCylindroconical stainless vesselsYeast fermentation of sugars into alcohol
Brite TanksPressurized stainless vesselsCarbonating, clarifying, and storing beer
Filtration SystemsDepth and membrane filtersRemoving yeast and haze particles
Canning LineAutomated filling and seamingPackaging beer into cans
Keg WasherCleaning systemCleaning and sanitizing kegs
Bottle FillerCounter-pressure fillerFilling bottles aseptically
ConveyorsAutomated food-grade beltsMoving ingredients and products
PipingFood-grade stainless steelTransferring liquids between vessels
Control PanelsTouchscreen interfacesMonitoring sensors, valves, motors
Clean-in-PlaceSpray balls, pumpsAutomated cleaning of interior surfaces

This covers the major brewing hardware involved in mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, filtering, and packaging beer. Additional equipment like mills, pumps, chillers, valves, sensors, and silos are also essential components.

Brewery Equipment Design and Fabrication Considerations

In addition to understanding brewery equipment functionality, engineers and manufacturers must address key considerations in the design and fabrication of brewing machinery:

Design AspectsDetails
MaterialsStainless steel for food-grade contact, aluminum for some vessels
ConstructionWelded and polished sanitary fittings, no crevices
SizingMatch equipment dimensions to batch sizes and throughput
ErgonomicsHeight, access points for operator work
AutomationSensors, valves, motors for automated operation
CleanabilitySmooth welds, spray balls, sloped surfaces
MaintenanceAccess ports, easing dismantling of parts
UtilitiesPower, water, wastewater, steam, glycol
CertificationsASME pressure vessel code, 3A sanitary standards

Fabricating brewing equipment requires specialized welding skills, extensive testing, and experience conforming to strict brewing standards. Partnership with suppliers of fittings, valves, pumps, and other components completes the manufacturing supply chain.

brewery equipment manufacturer

Major Brewery Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers

Many equipment vendors serve the global craft brewing industry. Here are some of the top established manufacturers:

JVNWCanby, Oregon, USABrewhouses, fermentation, filtration
Specific MechanicalVictoria, British Columbia, CanadaBrewhouses, canning lines
Premier Stainless SystemsEscondido, California, USATanks, vessels, custom fabrication
Newlands SystemsAbbotsford, British Columbia, CanadaBrewhouses, packaging equipment
AAA Metal FabricationPortland, Oregon, USAServing tanks, fermentation, brights
American Beer EquipmentLincoln, California, USATanks, milling, automation
Craftwerks Brewing SystemsLake Orion, Michigan, USABrewhouses, fermentation, filtration
Psycho BrewLouisville, Kentucky, USACustom fabrication, specialty brewing
Sprinkman CorporationChippewa Falls, Wisconsin, USABrewhouses, tanks, fermentation

Pricing varies dramatically based on size and features. Small 3-5 barrel brewhouses may cost $50,000+ while large 50 barrel systems can run $500,000+. Tanks range from $2,000 for basic fermenters to $100,000+ for 600-barrel CCTs. Packaging lines, automation, and silos also contribute major costs.

How to Choose the Right Brewer Equipment Manufacturer

Selecting a qualified brewery equipment fabricator is key to constructing an efficient, scalable brewing operation. Consider the following when evaluating manufacturing partners:

CriteriaQuestions to Ask
ExperienceHow long have they been in business? How many breweries have they built?
SpecializationDo they focus on brewhouses, tanks, or full turnkey builds?
ScaleWhat batch sizes and throughputs can they support?
OfferingsDo they provide equipment beyond their own fabrication if needed?
ProcessCan they handle design, engineering, procurement, documentation?
StandardsAre vessels ASME certified? Do they meet 3A sanitary standards?
MaterialsWhat grades of stainless steel do they use? What fittings and valves?
ConstructionWhat are their welding standards and finishing processes?
TestingHow are vessels, piping, and welds inspected and tested?
ReferencesCan they provide referrals from existing customers?
ServicesDo they handle installation, training, and aftersales support?
DeliveryWhat are standard lead times and options for expediting?
TermsWill they provide quotes, estimates, budgets? Flexible on payment terms?

Vetting an equipment manufacturer on these aspects ensures they can deliver functional, compliant, high-quality brewing machinery that matches your production goals and budget. Prioritize experience with comparable breweries in your region and scale.

Tips for Working Effectively with Your Equipment Manufacturer

Once a fabricator is selected, here are some tips for an efficient project build and rollout:

  • Discuss production plans, batch sizes, and growth projections so equipment is properly sized.
  • Agree on design choices like vessel dimensions, automation, and utility connections early.
  • Determine delivery timing and expectations for installation and training.
  • Clarify documentation like operating manuals, ASME certificates, drawings.
  • Maintain frequent communication and quickly resolve any issues.
  • Arrange inspections and testing at key milestones.
  • Confirm spare parts, warranties, and aftersales support details.
  • Schedule operator training to learn standard operating procedures.
  • Complete a thorough shakedown and test brews to validate function.
  • Provide feedback to the manufacturer during ramp-up for any needed tweaks.
  • Invite them back to offer suggestions once production matures.

This close collaboration with equipment builders ensures the smoothest possible brewhouse construction and startup.

brewery equipment manufacturer


Here are answers to some common questions brewers have about working with equipment fabricators:

What are typical lead times for getting brewery equipment?

  • For smaller 3-5 barrel systems, 6-10 weeks. For larger 15-30 barrel systems, 12-20 weeks. Lead times can extend to 6+ months for huge 100 barrel+ brewhouses.

Should I buy domestic or imported equipment?

  • Domestic equipment from North American shops may be pricier but allows closer collaboration during design and fabrication. Imported Chinese equipment is cheaper but communication and support may be lacking.

What design choices affect brewhouse efficiency?

  • Kettle and lauter tun dimensions, piping diameters, automated back-pressure controls, and advanced brewing software all influence efficiency. Discuss with your equipment manufacturer.

How much testing and documentation is needed for new brewing equipment?

  • Extensive weld inspections, hydrostatic and pneumatic testing, material certifications, QA/QC checks, manuals, and ASME stamping provide validation and compliance.

What support do equipment manufacturers typically provide after installation?

  • Training on operation, troubleshooting assistance during ramp-up, manuals and parts lists, warranties on components, and field service if needed.

What are the pros and cons of fully automated vs manual brewhouses?

  • Automated systems increase efficiency and consistency but reduce flexibility. Lower cost manual operation allows more craft and customization. Determine your production priorities.

Should I upgrade or expand my original brewhouse later on?

  • Upgrading piecemeal can be expensive and create compatibility issues. Discuss future expansion when designing your original system for easiest scalability.


Constructing a professionally engineered brewery requires careful selection of an equipment manufacturing partner. Take time to thoroughly assess potential fabricators on experience, capabilities, quality, and services. Effective collaboration during design and post-installation support ensures your brewing dreams become an efficient reality. With detailed planning guided by your equipment builder, opening a new brewery can be smooth and rewarding.

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