The UK drinks market is currently experiencing a craft beer boom as microbreweries across the UK look to champion their own unique flavours and brewing processes.
From tart ‘sours’, ‘coffee porters’ and everything else you may find, there’s no getting away from the fact that the UK’s drinks market is experiencing a craft beer boom at present. Microbreweries across the nation are looking to create their own flavours and the craft beer movement has witnessed a large growth in sales. In fact, it’s estimated that it now makes up 6.5% of all beer sales in the UK.
The craft beer scene doesn’t show any sign of slowing down anytime soon, either. There are more than 2,000 microbreweries now in production, but when it comes to creating quality over quantity, there’s no mistaking that running a microbrewery can be an incredibly energy-intensive process.
For those looking to make the jump into the industry, one main challenge is what energy supply to use. Choose correctly and you can help keep your costs to a minimum. Thankfully, gas tank suppliers Flogas have some words of wisdom for those looking to kick-start their own successful brewery.
Equipment is key
You can be the most passionate person around for brewing your own beer, but if you’re failing to make a profit, then your dream job could be over before you know it. 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 finalising your decision on your energy supply, you must choose your start-up 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
Further to this mashing stage, you’ll have to have 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
Once you have the correct tools, it’s time to choose your ingredients. 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 – While it may sound obvious, water actually makes up approximately 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 vital role in the final alcohol percentage of your drink. It can also 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.
Powering your Microbrewery
It’s certainly no easy feat to successfully launch your own microbrewery. 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 you choose wisely — whether you’re connected to the grid or you’re 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.