UCDavis Continuing and Professional Education

Don't Forget Your Inner Homebrewer

      I imagine that most of us got started in this business as homebrewers. I did, just barely. I got it in my head to add a brewery onto my wood oven pizzeria back in 1992, so naturally I had to start somewhere and homebrewing was the way to go.


     Approaching the construction of a “real” brewing system, I looked at it as a homebrewer would, that is, I tried to figure out how to build the system without spending a fortune. Naturally I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned because I had the passion that a homebrewer has about beer.


     I continued building more breweries over the years – seven that I have owned – and have helped over one hundred more open through our brewery immersion course (mentorship) we teach. My north star has always been to approach each and every project like a homebrewer. That is by asking myself how can I make a great beer without taking out a huge loan for state-of-the-art equipment?


     For example (and you are going to like or hate this) most breweries are seven-barrel systems or less. You can purchase a glycol chiller from a brewing supply place for $10,000 plus, or, what a home brewer would do, purchase a glycol line chiller for $1,800 that can easily handle three fermenters. You’re welcome.


     This mindset will help you retain capital that you need to grow. Most of my friends whose breweries make over 60k BBL’s per year all started this way. It is one of the reasons they were able to grow. Check out Sierra Nevada’s first brew kettle to see what I mean.


     If you are planning a brewery, stop for a minute and think if you really need all those fancy controls on that sweet brewer’s platform. Well of course if you have a 30 BBL system you might, but I’ll bet most are planning a seven to ten-barrel instead. Think I’m wrong about this? Change my mind. I’ll wait.


Contributing Author

Tom Hennessy                                                                                                           Founder, Colorado Boy Brewing


Tom Hennessy has opened seven breweries of his own and helped open over 100 more with his Colorado Boy Brewery Immersion Course. His video Frankenbrew, from 1995 has become a cult classic in the brewing world. His three brewing books include The Brewery Operations Manual, Colorado Boy SOP, and The Affordable Brewery. Tom lives, brews and writes in his mountain town of Ridgway, Colorado.


Protecting Your Stainless Steel:

Passivation for Brewery Equipment, Part I

Dana Johnson

The explosion of new craft breweries in the United States in recent years coupled with imported stainless steel of inferior quality, has created a much greater need to make sure new brewing equipment is properly passivated prior to being put into use. What does passivation mean? How does one passivate brewing equipment? This article will detail the chemicals and procedures brewers should use to passivate brewing
equipment and ensure their beers will taste like they should – fresh, flavorful and free of metallic or any  


Improving Brewhouse CIP

Dana Johnson

My kettle is not coming clean! I have to physically get in the kettle and scrub after I run the CIP (clean in place) to remove the remaining soil!

Unfortunately, this is a very common complaint of many craft brewers, especially in breweries that run multiple batches through the brewhouse between CIP runs. Why?

Protein tends to bind to the metal and alkalinity by itself will not remove it. The soil is typically very soft and 


Chemical Safety & Hazard Communication

MBAA Safety Committee

Many chemicals are used in the brewing process that have hazards, including chemical burns from corrosives, fire hazards from flammables, and pressure hazards from compressed gases. Chemicals must be used, stored, and disposed of properly to prevent accidents or environmental releases.

General Chemical Safety Requirements
• Always wear proper PPE.

• Inspect PPE to ensure there are no holes, rips, or tears.


Getting Your Beer in the Can

Matt Vincent

You’ve got your space, you’ve picked your brewing equipment, and maybe you’re already canning by hand - but it’s not working out well for you. Either you need to can more beer faster, or the quality of the product isn’t holding up because you are hand filling cans off the tap and seaming on a single head manual seamer. Maybe you just need to keep your tap room cooler full or you are thinking about picking up a couple of additional accounts to sell your products. In any case, you’ve determined it’s time to consider scaling up with a little more automation.


  • Estimate desired production

  • Research available utilities

  • Evaluate space constraints

  • Forecast scaling up production

  • Research equipment options

  • Select equipment/financing

  • Purchase/order equipment

  • Install equipment

  • Brew/package test batches


  • Dial in equipment efficiencies

  • Establish sanitation SOP

  • Establish maintenance SOP

  • Consult vendor with issues



  • Consider equipment upgrades

  • Research additional tank capacity

  • Evaluate silo or bulk packaging needs