Things at Sori Brewing are moving forward!  Currently people have subscribed Sori shares worth of over 177 k€ (> $240 000 USD). It’s a clear signal that the share issue is succeeding and going as planned. That’s why we are now starting to move forward and preparing for the actual building stage. This far, we have been seeing some brewhouses that could suit for our needs. Right now we are doing some calculations in order to do the best investment possible.

Finding a perfect brewery site

Promising premise with drains and all in Tallinn. (Photo: Brem Kinnisvarahaldus OÜ)

Finding a good spot for a brewery in Estonia seems to be easier than we thought. But finding a perfect one takes some work. We are now beginning to look for best spots around Tallinn. Prices per square meter are a lot cheaper than in Finland, which makes us excited already. Here we have gathered some points that are the most relevant when choosing a site for a brewery:

  1. Suitable for foodstuff and beer production
    Most important thing in the search for premises: the site has to be suitable for producing beer, meaning that it has to pass the regulations that is set by the office, which controls the food production in Estonia.
  2. Water quality, piping and electricity
    Without good water there can’t be  good beer. Technically water quality in Tallinn can be even better than in Finland, if you take the sample from the water source. The problem is, that in many places the pipes may be so old and rusty that it requires a good filtration system to remove the metal particles out. This is usually not a problem, it just takes money. However, own wells are quite common or  it can be quite inexpensive to build a new one  if you find a right spot.  Secondly, breweries handle a lot of water so we’ll need good drains mounted into floor. Lastly, a brewhouse requires quite a lot of electricity to boil that big kettle and run a bottling line, all has to be in order on that department as well.
  3. Neighborhood and location
    We don’t like shady people moving around our property, so rather we find a spot that is secure and close enough to city center. Also, we want Sori brewery to be an exciting place for people to visit, so that is one factor to keep in mind when choosing location. And of course, good location can come with a price.
  4. Enough room to expand
    If the previous requirements weren’t enough, we have some more. We aim to grow  fast so it’s relevant to have a spot that makes expansions possible. One of the biggest problems craft breweries have is that they don’t have enough room to expand, so they have to move (which takes time and money) or settle for less.
  5. Possible wow-factor
    It would be so cool that our place would have some kind of history of it’s own. Only problem is that usually these places are in crappy condition and it’s not smart to renovate them by yourself. But, this is one factor that excites us. It could be an old brewery, fire station, factory or anything with an interesting history.
  6. Price
    The most relevant and the dullest one – the money question. Even though the place would be perfect, you have to afford it. Usually the building stage takes time and then there are the permits that require time. You have to be prepared to have the brewery on hold for months without you being able to do anything there.

Finding the perfect brewhouse

Samu checking out a brewhouse, could this be the one?

Samu checking out a brewhouse, could this be the one?

This is pure math. When you are calculating the size and specifications of a brewhouse, you have to determine many factors , most of all, time and money. More automation and vessels saves you man hours but grows exponentially the amount of your investment.

In our case, where scalability is a major factor, we are looking for a bit more automation and faster turnaround time. If we can brew several batches per day, it’s possible to scale our production upwards and even brew 24/7. But if one 1500-2000 liters brew takes 8 hours, you’ll probably end up with gray hair and get yelled by your wife very often. In other words,  it’s a bad place to save money in the long run.

So far we have had good offers from all sorts of brewhouses, now it’s just calculating what is the best investment.

What’s next?

When we find the perfect spot and the perfect equipment, then starts building. Luckily we are in Estonia, where building is rather inexpensive and fast. Only thing that holds us back then is the permit policy, which can take time. Luckily we have prepared and our connections helps us out with the best policy when it comes to communicating with officials.

Hard work, phone calls, meetings and thousands of papers – that’s our daily routine now. We just wait that we get in to that beer thingy, brewing, as some may call it.