Only a few years after opening, Mornington Peninsula Brewery had run out of room. In an attempt to keep up with growing sales, they had made regular additions to equipment at the brewery and now they desperately needed a larger home.
Fortunately, a suitable home was found just around the corner. The building covers almost 800 square metres and is huge in comparison with the original. Concrete covers the entire site, which is an important improvement over the old site.
The decision was made to keep the old brewery, along with its bar, as a place where they could brew smaller specialty batches and use the new site as a production-only site. However, the new site required a substantial million-dollar investment from the shareholders.
They ordered a new 2500L DME brew house and got busy making the site ready. They now have a brew house with separate mash, lauter, kettle and whirlpool, which is double the number of vessels in the old brew house. As well as a big increase in size, this makes doing double batches much easier and quicker.
Thankfully for AG and his team, the new grain storage area is elevated and bags of grain are poured directly into the mill. An auger then carries the milled grain to the mash tun, which should reduce the likelihood of then getting back strain. Another plus for the brewers is that the lauter tun has a bottom that simply opens up to remove the spent grain. No more shovelling!
However, one thing that they hadn’t counted on was that the site did not have a gas connection. This is something that many other craft brewers can relate to, and which caused unwanted stress and expense. The steam boiler and glycol systems also cost more than expected, due mainly to the extensive pipework required. All-up the budget blew out about a quarter million dollars, but one positive is that the building is now designed and set up to accommodate up to 17 tanks, made up of 12 fermenters and five bright tanks. Currently they have two 5000L and some 2500L fermenters. They have another 5000L fermenter on order and hope to be able to order another couple shortly.
With all the extra beer now in production, plans are also underway to upgrade their new canning machine from two to four filling heads. It is a modular design that is fairly simple to upgrade. Even the bottling line is being enhanced to reduce the ‘bottle necks.’
They have employed a sales rep to cover the Sydney area, because increased capacity means that there is a need for more sales. After all the work and investment in this new building Matt Bebe admitted, “Hopefully we will be here for another five years, but with all the growth we are seeing at the moment, who knows?”