When you’re building a brewery, there are a lot of steps along the way. You need to start with the right space. You have to make sure it has good lighting and ventilation, and it’s also important to check that your neighbors are cool with you opening up shop in their neighborhood.
Once you’ve got your space figured out, then comes the hard work: construction. When building a brewery, you need to make sure that there are enough outlets available for all of your equipment so that nothing gets tripped over during the process.
Finally, once everything is up and running, it’s time for the fun part: beer. Every brewery needs its own signature brews in order to attract customers—and this can take some time to perfect—so don’t be discouraged if your first few batches don’t turn out exactly how you wanted them too.
The cost to build a brewery can vary significantly, depending on the size of the operation and whether you’re building from scratch or retrofitting an existing space. To help you determine how much it might cost, we’ve broken down all the major components into sections and estimated what they’d cost for a hypothetical project.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Brewery?
Generally, most breweries range from $500,000 to $1 million in start-up costs. The cost of starting a brewery however, can depend on how big you plan your brewery to be, production levels, and location.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when opening a brewery is dealing with hidden fees and expenses that pop up. Expenses can generally be grouped into two categories: major expenses and smaller expenses.
Building a Brewery from an Existing Facility
If you’re looking to build or purchase a brewery, it will be important for you to consider the cost of doing so. Buying an existing facility can help reduce costs and get your business up and running faster. However, buying a building may require more money upfront than building from scratch. There are also other factors that you should take into consideration before deciding which route is best for your business.
The following sections will cover some of the main considerations when evaluating whether or not buying an existing facility is right for you:
Building a Brewery from Scratch
- Location and size of the brewery
- Building materials
- Architect and contractor
- Permitting and zoning
You are going to need to hire a demolition company. They will be able to take care of everything from the removal of walls and ceilings, to deconstruction of flooring and heating systems. They will also remove hazardous materials such as asbestos. The cost of demolition can vary depending on how much needs to be done, but you can expect it to be around $1 per square foot (for example, if your brewery is 1,000 square feet then you should expect the demolition costs to be between $1,000 – $2,000).
Demolition usually takes 2-3 weeks depending on how difficult the job is and how many people they have working on it at once.
Dirt Work and Grading
Dirt work and grading are the first steps in building your brewery. They involve removing excess dirt and debris from the building site to make sure that it’s level enough to support a foundation.
This is done before pouring concrete for your foundation, because if you poured it on uneven land, it could cause problems later on. Hand-grading is tedious but effective—it involves using shovels, rakes and other tools to remove large chunks of dirt so that you have a smooth surface for pouring concrete into. Machine grading uses machinery like tractors with blades attached or bulldozers; this method works faster but requires more expense than hand-grading does (and also requires permits).
If you’re planning on having several buildings on one property, consider doing some grading in stages; this way one building won’t be affected by another’s work schedule.
Foundation, Slab and Subfloor
The foundation, slab and subfloor are the three layers that support a brewery’s structure. The foundation is the concrete base that supports the weight of your brewery’s walls and roof. The slab is the surface your brewery is built on top of, while its subfloor consists of joists and beams.
How much do they cost?
The exact price depends on factors like size, location and access to materials—but here are some rough estimates for each:
- Foundation: $5-$8 per square foot ($15K – $24K for 1,000 square feet)
- Slab: $2-$4 per square foot ($6K – $12K for 1,000 square feet)
- Subfloor: $3-$5 per square foot ($9K – $15K for 1,000 square feet)
Utility installation is the process of installing water, gas, electric and other utilities in a building. This can be done before or after the building is completed. If you have an existing brewery that you’re looking to expand into a larger facility, then utility installation will probably be done after your renovations are complete. If this is not the case, then it’s likely that your brewer will hire contractors to do this work while they’re building out their new operation.
A full-service contractor should be able to help you coordinate with the city or county where your brewery will be located as well as any utility companies needed for making sure there’s adequate water supply and sewage disposal near your location.
Construction costs vary depending on the size and scope of your brewery. A large-scale brewery with a full restaurant and taproom might cost upwards of $5 million, while a smaller scale or one that’s just focused on brewing could cost less than half as much.
The construction process itself can take anywhere from six months to over a year depending on what needs to be done and how quickly you want it finished. The best way to ensure that your brewery will have everything you need when it opens is to work with an experienced contractor who has helped other breweries get up and running smoothly in the past.
While there are many different methods for building out your brewery space (if you’re building from scratch), some common approaches include:
- Building out spaces within an existing structure (for example, converting old warehouses)
- Building new structures adjacent to older ones
- Creating separate buildings connected by tunnels or walkways
Interior construction is the process of building the interior of the brewery. Interior construction includes everything from the walls to floors and electrical wiring, but does not include any concrete work. Interior construction can be done in phases and will depend on how much money you have to spend on your brewery.
Retail Area and Tap Room Design
If you are planning to open a brewery, it is important to consider the size of your retail area. The best layout for your retail area depends on how much space you have available and how many people will be visiting your brewery in one day. If you want to serve food as well as beer, then having a kitchen inside the taproom makes sense so that people can sit down and enjoy some grub with their beer. If you are going to sell bottles or cans of beer, then having a bar that is separate from where customers sit may be better suited for this purpose.
If possible, try not using glass walls or windows because they can cause noise from outside sources (traffic) into your taproom as well as create privacy issues when customers come in with kids who might not like being exposed to loud noises coming from outside sources such as traffic passing by or trains passing by nearby tracks.”
Bar, Restaurant and Patio Construction
Building a brewery is a huge endeavor, and you should be prepared to spend a significant amount of money on construction. One of the most expensive parts of building your brewery will be constructing the bar, restaurant and patio areas. The costs for this portion of your brewery buildout can range anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 or more depending on how much square footage you need to cover with these spaces and how many additions you want to make (for example: refrigerators or additional bars).
Find out everything you need to know about building a brewery in our guide.
Find out everything you need to know about building a brewery in our guide.
- Costs of Building a Brewery from Scratch
The costs of building a brewery will vary depending on where you’re located and the size of your space, but there are some general ballpark figures that can help guide you. The following data is based on averages and will be more or less accurate depending on your specific circumstances:
- Building materials: $30 – $50 per square foot (including plumbing, heating/cooling systems, electrical wiring, flooring, etc.)
- Labor: $20 – $25 per square foot (this includes equipment installation)
- Permits/licenses: Varies widely by location; anywhere from $500 to over $10K for federal licenses alone
Now that you know what it takes to build a brewery, you can begin the planning process. Make sure to have an idea of how much money you’ll need and where those funds will come from. You should also have a clear direction in mind for your business plan before starting construction work on any facility.