If you’re heading into the weekend feeling fed up with the way your career is going, His & Hers has some tips on how you could shake things up by starting your own microbrewery!
We are experiencing a huge craft beer boom in the UK. Microbreweries across the nation are looking to create the perfect flavours and champion their brewing processes.
The endless flavours have seen the craft beer movement massively grow in sales in the last few years, with figures now estimating that the sector makes up 6.5% of all beer sales in the UK.
There are over 2,000 microbreweries currently in production and this number is quickly increasing, showing the craft beer scene isn’t likely to slow down any time soon. But when it comes to creating quality over quantity, there’s no mistaking the fact that running a microbrewery can be an incredibly energy-intensive process.
Entrepreneurs hoping to crack the sector face several problems from the off. One is what energy supply to use (particularly if they’re off the mains gas grid), and how to keep costs to a minimum. Thankfully, the energy experts at Flogas, who can provide LPG in a gas cylinder, have provided some words of wisdom for those looking to kick-start their own successful brewery.
Equipment is key
It’s great to be passionate about brewing your own beers, but if you don’t make a profit on your product, then you could easily find your dream role abruptly coming to a halt. 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.
Before jumping the gun and deciding on your energy choice, you must find the correct equipment to get you started. 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 will cover 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 proof is in the hops
After purchasing the correct equipment, you must choose your ingredients wisely. Your choice 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 – 90% of any beer is made of up water. 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 can change your drink’s alcohol percentage. It can also dramatically affect the body, taste and aroma of your finished product.
Hops – It’s the hops that give your favourite beer its distinctive flavor. There are around 170 variations, meaning there’s plenty of choice when it comes to playing with flavour.
Yeast – Yeast may be invisible, but it’s a key ingredient to any good beer and has been used in the beer brewing process 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.
Powering your Microbrewery
By no means is launching your own microbrewery an easy task. 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 doesn’t matter if you’re connected to the grid or are operating in a rural location, you must choose your energy supply wisely.
If LPG is an option (and you are currently using oil or solid fuels), it’s worth bearing in mind that it is a cleaner, cheaper and more efficient fuel. This can help you make 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.
We’re proud to bring you this feature in association with Flogas. You may also enjoy: Our feature on the Craft Beer Festival.