Exploring the Distinctions: Commercial Brewing Equipment vs. Small Brewing Equipment

Exploring the Distinctions: Commercial Brewing Equipment vs. Small Brewing Equipment
Exploring the Distinctions: Commercial Brewing Equipment vs. Small Brewing Equipment

Brewing Equipment Technical Details

A commercial brewing machine is designed with more technicality compared to a microbrewery due to its specific purposes. It often involves various constraints. The reason behind such design is the commercial nature of the equipment; it needs to produce larger quantities to meet market demands. In essence, it is specialized equipment. Furthermore, unlike microbreweries, industrial equipment is computerized, and the transition process may encounter glitches, affecting efficiency.

Brewing Equipment Cost

While microbreweries and commercial brewing equipment differ in size, processes, and operations, the initial purchase cost also varies. A commercial brewer consists of distinct parts designed for specific brewing stages, whereas a typical microbrewer has a single room where the entire brewing process takes place. However, much of the brewing process remains the same since it primarily involves straightforward biochemical processes.

The cost of these equipment varies based on factors such as material, equipment status (new or second hand), and size. Considering all these factors, it is evident that commercial brewery equipment costs more than microbrewery equipment.

Moreover, the maintenance cost for commercial equipment is slightly higher compared to others.

Synthetic Substances

There is a substantial difference in the use of chemicals between business brewers and microbreweries. Business brewers generally employ stronger chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing compared to microbreweries, which typically do not require the same level of products. Cleaning and sanitizing are crucial and time-consuming aspects of commercial brewing. Commercial brewers utilize a Clean-In-Place (CIP) system for vessel cleaning. This system usually includes a spray ball inside the vessel near the ceiling, allowing chemicals to flow down the tank walls and remove various residues simultaneously. Chemicals such as caustic soda, phosphoric acid, and nitric acid work wonders and require higher temperatures in the range of 150-160 Fahrenheit for full effectiveness. For sterilization, peracetic acid is used, which can be hazardous when undiluted. Microbrewers may encounter unwanted chemicals during the brewing process, especially if they utilize small-scale machinery.

Brewery Size

Another distinction between commercial and microbrewery equipment is their size. The disparity becomes apparent in the amount of beer produced by commercial breweries; their equipment has the capacity to produce larger quantities compared to microbreweries. Additionally, a typical microbrewer produces at least 5 gallons per batch, while a commercial brewery can produce approximately 1000 gallons.

Brewing Equipment Efficiencies

Larger systems in commercial brewing are more efficient in extracting desired compounds from ingredients. For example, bigger systems yield more IBUs, sugars, etc., which saves money for brewers. Microbreweries would have to use more grain and longer mashing times to replicate the efficiency of commercial brewing since their equipment can only handle a small volume, making it more time-consuming than using a commercial brewery machine with larger storage capacity.


Each vessel is equipped to receive either steam or glycol. Glycol can be considered a type of “liquid coolant.” It is used on the “cool side” of the brewery to regulate the temperature of fermenters, controlling the heat generated during fermentation. Microbreweries can also achieve similar results in terms of equipment performance because they also utilize mechanisms to release the precise amount of heat required for the desired outcome of the brewed beers.

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