An experienced brewery architect offers advice on making your project a success

Central Oregon is home to more than 35 microbreweries and an active craft-beer culture. And, as Bend architects, we’ve built a deep portfolio designing breweries, tasting rooms, brew pubs, and production facilities, both locally and out-of-state. During our time working on breweries, we’ve learned about the industry and refined our design process. Based on our experience, here’s advice we offer startups when they start thinking about brewery design.

Hire an experienced brewery architect.

Breweries are a complicated project type that require an architect who understands the brewing process, liquor licensing laws and regulations, building codes, and life-safety standards. An experienced brewery architect will streamline the design process and create production and administrative spaces that promote efficient workflows and employee safety. Those carefully planned workflows will support your long-term operations. The result? You’ll save time and money every day your brewery is in business.

Decide if you want to run a production facility, pub, and/or restaurant.

Just like the IPAs breweries produce, brewery business models vary in complexity. Some are simply production facilities pumping out golden suds and strong stouts for wholesale distribution. Other breweries offer tours and tasting rooms where beer lovers can watch production in person and sample and compare several of the brew master’s beer styles. Still others serve their craft beers in full-service restaurants and pubs. Each use must meet different building codes and levels of regulation related to beer sales and food service, so your business type will affect your brewery design.

Perform a thorough due-diligence when buying or leasing real estate for your brewery.

Before signing a lease or sales agreement make sure the location’s zoning allows your specific use (whether you’ll run a brewery, warehouse, and/or restaurant). During due-diligence, your architect can help verify that a structure’s construction type will allow the building code occupancy groups necessary for a brewery (e.g., some brewery occupancy loads require noncombustible exterior walls). Also confirm that water, sewer, electrical, and gas services offer adequate capacity—again, your architect can help. Finally, make sure you have a full understanding of utility charges.

Define your brand.

Each brewery has its own identity, which allows it to connect with consumers. As brewery architects and interior designers, we can support and communicate your brand through design elements, such as space planning, building detailing, colors, textures, finish materials, lighting, and furniture selection. This branding will influence customer behavior and create a community that supports your beer.

Plan for expansion.

In our experience, breweries that make great beer and have strong leadership usually experience rapid growth. Planning for production expansion during the initial design process can help make future changes easier. As your architect, we can help phase your project to meet your current budget while preparing for your future success.

Are you looking for help to design your brewery? Ascent Architecture & Interiors can help! See our brewery design portfolio, and contact us for a complimentary one-hour consultation.

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