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What comprises of a Brewhouse?

Commercial brewing requires several different types of big vessels made of stainless steel. First, the water gets heated in a dedicated vessel called the Hot Liquor Tank The hot water is then transferred to a vessel known as the Mash/Lauter Tun where it saturates milled grain to extract sugars and flavours. the carbohydrate-rich water is transferred to the Boil Kettle right next to the mash tun where it is brought to boiling temperature by a direct gas-fired burner, indirect gas-fired burner, steam, or electric elements. Hops (and other special ingredients depending on the recipe) are added during the boil. Once that is completed, the boil kettle becomes a Whirlpool, forcing the water into a vortex that separates it from the larger particles in the solution (like large clusters of hops). The Boil Kettle/Whirlpool and the Mash/Lauter Tun are usually right next to each other with a platform and stairs between them so the brewer can visually monitor the process and add ingredients. Collectively, they’re referred to as the Brewhouse.

Once you’ve secured a production space, and you’re finally ready to invest in a brewing system. However, one question remains: “What size brewhouse do I need?” Depending on desired production and the type of beer brewed, craft breweries have varying size needs for brewing systems and tanks. There are so many factors to consider such as size, number of vessels, type of heat source, cooling the wort, as well as country of manufacturing and engineering origin. Choosing a supplier is a crucial element to the process of setting up a production, commercial or craft brewery. In this issue of BW, Sneha Nair speaks with Heath Shiftcliffe from Cavalier Brewing, recently completing their first project in Bangalore at BrewMeister Craft Beer & Kitchen located in Jayanagar. Cavalier Brewing started by three friends – Andre Cronin, Steve Martin & Heath Shirtcliffe over their mutual love affair with beer. Started in Melbourne, the Cavalier team provides turnkey solutions with state-of-the-art solutions for brewery set-up, completing projects supplying equipment and full service agreemnts in multiple countries. Alchemy and Brewmeister in Bangalore are the latest projects completed. (Kooinda, Hop Nation, Bad Shepherd and Albatros in Australia other projects completed). Along with custom designing fermentation software with Deacam, automation and electrical engineers based in Australia

How did all begin? Where did the love for craft beer stem from?

Like all good things, Cavalier was born over a beer. Cousins Steve Martin and Andrew Cronin were home brewers of more than ten years when I met Steve walking their dogs one day. Their mutual love affair of beer was apparent, when an opportunity arose to put beer into a commercial venue, Cavalier Brewing was born. Andrew Cronin, Steve Martin & Heath Shirtcliffe, we form the co-founders of the company.

As a provider of consultancy services – Could you talk to us about the key elements crucial to setting up a brewpub/microbrewery, a production brewery or a taproom?

Scope – Rarely is the cheapest solution the best solution. Every site has unique requirements so it’s essential that the system be designed to be fit for purpose. Don’t design the site to fit the equipment, always select equipment to match the site. Equipment needs to be sized appropriately for the site with consideration for production requirements and staffing.

Budget – Never underestimate the cost of building a brewing facility. Equipment is only one half of the equation, installation and commissioning form the other half of the expense. Always include a risk margin for when things don’t go right.

Schedule – Don’t be ambitious with expectations of time. Breweries are complex projects with many activities happening in parallel. Be generous with the schedule and build in lots of fat. It’s impossible to line up all the event sequences perfectly. There will be periods of inactivity whilst waiting for parts or people.

Location – Retail is a tricky business so it’s all about location, location, location. You need passing traffic, a point of difference and most of all a quality offering.

What are some of the challenges you come across while interacting with a client?

Unrealistic expectations. It’s very important to manage a customer’s expectations but not being the prime contractor often means we have no influence or control over project outcomes. New systems always take some time to learn and understand so there is a lead time on pouring the first beers once commissioning is complete.

Talk to us about the services provided once you sign up with Cavalier Brewing.

Cavalier Brewing provides all the ingredients for success. We provide the marketing & branding, start-up consulting and a tailored sales strategy. We design and install the entire brewery system (including dispensing). We provide all the project management and implement processes and procedures for operating the brewery including production schedules. We warrant the capacity of the brewery and quality of the beer. We provide a personal brew master at the client’s disposal. We continuously innovate new beers to maintain market interest and relevance whilst building the credibility of the brand and venue.
Cavalier Brewing ensures all partners, team members and collaborators have every chance possible to make their success better than Cavalier’s own Australian operation. Our philosophy is…’Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.’

How do you know what type and make of equipment would be a good match for the project in completion?

The type and make of the equipment must match the budget of the project. However, production volumes and the workflow of the site will drive most of the design considerations. Access to utilities is another important factor when deciding on steam or electric heating. Roof heights invariably influence vessel shape and size. Floor plans dictate equipment layout and interfaces with services like glycol, gas and control systems.

Recently completing a project in Bangalore, India with Brew Meister (Jayanagar) – could you tell us how/why you got interested with the Indian market. We met our Indian partners at a Trade Fair three years ago here in Melbourne hosted by the Victorian State Government. We hit it off instantly and became fast friends. The rest is, as they say, history.

The Brew Meister team are some of the most genuine people we’ve ever had the privilege of working with. They listen to our advice and provide a considered response every time. They are enthusiastic and passionate about beer. They maintain the highest levels of integrity, putting quality and safety first. It’s a great venue and sales are impressive given such a short time in the market. They are a pleasure to brew with and I’m proud to call them our friends.

Do you foresee any plans to expand your services to the Indian Market?

Absolutely! We would love to see Cavalier beer produced in every major city in India. We believe it’s a great symbiotic business model where the retailer is free to do what they do best whilst we get on with what we do best – brewing. Watch this space…