If you like a tipple then you’ll know that the craft beer boom in the UK is thriving with microbreweries across the nation creating their own unique beers, using their own unique brewing processes.
From tart ‘sours’ to ‘coffee porters’, the movement of craft beers is leading to huge growths in recent years. It’s now estimated that it makes up 6.5% of all beer sales in the UK – so how would the entrepreneur in you fancy creating your very own microbrewery?
With over 2,000 microbreweries now in production, there doesn’t seem to be any signs showing this surge will slow down. But when it comes to creating quality over quantity, there’s no mistaking that running a microbrewery can be an incredibly energy-intensive process.
One of the biggest challenges that those looking to set up a microbrewery face is which energy supply to use. In this article, LPG suppliers, Flogas, offer some useful advice for those looking to kick-start their own successful brewery.
Don’t fudge on equipment
It doesn’t matter what your level of passion is; if your product isn’t profitable, you won’t last long in the business. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to choose an energy strategy that will reduce your usage and keep costs down. Microbreweries can be notoriously difficult to get off the ground financially, so by doing this, you can help boost your company’s profit margins.
However, prior to making your final energy decision, you’ll need to sort out your equipment. One of the main components in the brewing process is the mash system, which is commonly made up of the following:
- Mash tank – Steeps barley into hot water and converts grain starches into fermentable sugars
- Lauter tun – Separates the wort (or liquid) from the solids of the mash (much like a sieve)
- Steam generator – Heats the kettle, which is then brought to a controlled temperature before the hops are added
- Malt mill – Crushes the grain in preparation for brewing
- Wort Pump – Re-circulates the mash for a higher efficiency, enhancing the clarity and quality of the brew
- Plate Heat Exchanger/Wort Chiller – Quickly cools the hot wort ready for fermentation
This covers the mashing stage. Further to this, you’ll need a fermentation system (where yeast is added and sugar turns into alcohol), a cooling system (to prevent bacteria growth and where beer can be stored ready for sale), a filtering system (to get rid of sediment for a higher-quality product) and, of course, not forgetting the sterilisation equipment (to ensure that bacteria doesn’t spoil your next batch of beer).
The hops are key to success
Equipment may be important, but so too are the ingredients you choose. This will dramatically impact the flavour and consistency of your beer. With so many variations available, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating something truly unique. But not matter how distinctive the taste, you’ll find all craft beer is made up the following key components:
- Water – It may sound obvious, but water makes up around 90 percent of any beer. The pH and mineral content of your chosen water, as well as if it’s hard or soft, can also affect the end result.
- Barley – Barley plays a key role in the alcohol percentage of your beer and can dramatically affect the body, taste and aroma of your finished product.
- Hops – Ever wondered where your favourite beer gets its distinctive flavour? Chances are it’s the hops. There are around 170 variations, meaning there’s plenty of choice when it comes to playing with flavour.
- Yeast – An invisible but key ingredient to any good beer – yeast has been used in beer brewing for centuries. Essentially a fungus, yeast eats the sugars created in the malting process. By allowing it to ferment and feed off the sugars, alcohol is created as a byproduct.
Power up your Microbrewery
It’s not easy to launch your own microbrewery and to make it successful. Along with all the complications of the brewing process, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is extortionate energy prices, or an unreliable supply.
It’s important to make a wise choice and it doesn’t matter if you’re connected to the grid or operating in a rural location. If you are considering LPG, (and are currently using oil or solid fuels), it’s worth noting that LPG is a cleaner, cheaper and more efficient fuel– one that could bring you major savings on your energy costs. With the lowest CO2 emissions of any fossil fuel, it’ll also mean a lower carbon footprint for your microbrewery.