Holding a bottle of that colored, intoxicating liquor, once considered a gift of God by so many ancient civilizations, you must have wondered sometimes how it’s made and where. The obvious answer is, of course, that beer is produced in a beer factory or brewery; but do the breweries have a prototype, standard design? Does every brewery follow a set standard procedure to churn out the favorite beverage of so many, especially the youngsters? Don’t mind your ignorance, we are going to talk about the types of breweries in this post! Have you heard about a craft brewery or a farm brewery? Do you know the difference between a micro and a macro brewery? You will get all the answers about how and where is this intoxicating juice produced; what is the criteria of classification of the breweries; how do you g et different flavors and tastes; go on and read this post to know everything about this drink that’s perhaps as old as the human civilization!
Types of breweries
Before describing types of breweries, let us know something about the biggest brewers who bring that gift of God to millions of people, making their lives colorful, even flashy sometimes! Well, according to the data available, the biggest four control more than 50% of the beer market; these companies are Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Heineken International, and Carlsberg. You owe them a big thank you! By the way, the largest brewery is Belgian-Brazilian Anheuser-Busch InBev followed by the Danish company Carlsberg group.
Now let us get down to business. Breweries are mostly classified by their production capacity or brewing style. They may range from ultra small to very large, and from traditional to innovative or non-traditional. This classification may vary from region to region but we will try to describe some terms that are usually universally accepted.
We ought to have started with “Microbrewery”, but thought it more appropriate to begin with “Nanobrewery” instead since it may be considered as the smallest type of breweries. People often count it under a “Craft brewery” only. By definition (though not strictly), a Nanobrewery produces in batches of three barrels or smaller.
Microbreweries are small and generally independent (one person may usually be holding 90% stakes or more). They produce on a small scale generally (mostly less than 15,000 barrels a year) for a local market. A Microbrewery may not necessarily be a Craft brewery, but it signifies adaptability, flexibility, innovation and experimentation. The main emphasis of Microbreweries remains on quality, flavor and brewing style.
We have already mentioned Craft breweries several times, so let us talk a little about them before moving forward. Most Nano and Micro breweries are classified under Craft breweries in fact, though these terms are quite new. As a rough definition, a Craft brewery or an Artisan brewery is about a brewer whose beer derives its flavor from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. More than 75% of the stakes are with a single owner. Innovation is always the hallmark of a craft brewer, they give new twists to traditional styles, thus producing something unique and distinctive.
You are basically running a Brewpub if you are producing and selling your beverage from the same facility. It’s an abbreviated term for brew and pub (combining the ideas of a brewery and a pub; it can be a restaurant or a pub that is brewing beer in the same premises. A brewhouse selling more than its 75% beer off-site is actually a craft brewery or a microbrewery.
A Farm brewery or a Farmhouse brewery is one that brews its beer on a farm. This term is being used for centuries, as producing beer in a place where the required ingredients like crops, or fruits etc were readily available was much easier and cheaper. Usually this beer was brewed to distribute among the workers, but it has had its connoisseurs as well for they created beers with unconventional flavors. The term Farmhouse brewery has gone beyond this limited definition now; ingredients are now especially grown on a farm to produce beverages that have their own signature.
Well, that’s still not quite all about the types of breweries. You would come across terms like, Regional breweries- breweries that serve fixed geographical locations, contract brewing- producing beer for another brewery, Gypsy brewing- hiring another brewery to produce one’s beer on a temporary basis (mostly on one-off occasion), etc.
And of course we haven’t discussed the Macro breweries (large corporate breweries) that control almost the entire beer market. That’s because we shall be discussing the macro breweries in detail in our future posts- their architectural styles, the main areas and processes, and some breathtaking brewery designs around the world. Hold your breath and wait for more from us!
Craft Brewer – Brewers Association
About the author
Sandeep Singh is an architect from IIT Roorkee. He is a prolific writer and a sensitive poet. His professional posts mostly cover the future in Architecture. His books are chiefly devoted to the inner and outer battles that a disabled person in India faces every day.