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Crafting Metal Building Systems for Breweries and Distilleries

by Linda Schmid

Whether brewing beer or distilling spirits, the alcohol beverage market remains strong throughout the U.S. At the end of 2017, there were over 6,300 breweries in the nation, including 6,266 craft breweries; and the craft distillery market has grown from fewer than 100 in 2005 to nearly 2,000 in 2018. These markets continue to grow dramatically. For each, metal buildings are a versatile, attractive and cost-efficient solution and can be used in a variety of applications.

DISTILLERY & BREWERY MARKETS INCLUDE:

Midland Drekker Brewery
Midland Drekker Brewery

■ Contract Breweries

■ Contract Distilling Producers

■ Craft Breweries

■ Craft Distilleries

■ Distillers

■ Distillery Bottlers

■ Farm Breweries

■ Microbreweries 

■ Minibreweries

■ Non-distilling Producers (NDP)

■ Pub Breweries (brewpubs)

Five reasons why metal building systems are tailor-made for these types
of businesses:

Metal buildings meet the speed of delivery expectations of owners and builders in brewing and distillery businesses. Construction can move fast! Owners are pleased because they can open their doors quickly, bringing in a revenue stream much sooner than they would anticipate with other types of buildings. 

A metal building solution fits the production and manufacturing space needs for both breweries and distilleries. High ceilings allow owners to stack barrels in the best configuration for their craft; and materials and equipment can be easily moved because of the column-free clearspan spaces. When a business grows, so can the building. Expansion is typically built right into the design. Removal of just one wall opens the space to many configuration options.

3 Metal building systems are easy to maintain. The exterior is essentially maintenance-free and long-lasting, thanks to superior, life-extending wall and roof coatings that retain color and resist dirt. Metal walls and sloped metal roofing are both self-cleaning. Steel does not support mold growth and does not warp, split, crack or creep. The bottom line is that low maintenance costs lead to low operating costs—a huge benefit over time. Further, metal buildings are durable, standing strong against wind events. Testing performed by the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) shows metal buildings can be designed to withstand sustained winds up to 170 mph.

Most distilleries and breweries are retail destinations that require curb appeal and customer engagement through attractive design. Depending on colors, styles and interior/exterior materials, a facility can achieve high-end design appeal to multiple generations. Elements include decorative columns and varied arch forms and daylighting elements. Building panels and roofing can be provided in many colors. Exteriors can be clad with steel siding, wood, glass, aluminum, masonry or concrete.

Metal building systems are known for their energy-saving attributes. Metal building panels promote energy efficiency because they are designed to incorporate fiberglass or rigid board insulation of varying thicknesses, creating an energy-tight environment. Insulation can also be easily added and increased within the roof cavity without removing the roof. Further, the interlocking edges of metal building panels provide excellent weathertightness. Cool roofing technology creates a reflective surface that causes a building to absorb less heat, facilitating energy efficiency and lower electricity costs.

Vista Brewing

VISTA BREWING

Vista Brewing is a 5,000-square-foot facility that includes a production area and a 2,500-square-foot tasting room and restaurant. The brewery is in Driftwood, Texas, just outside of Austin.

The founders, Kent and Karen Killough, used local architect OPA Design Studio to guide their design.
A metal building system was chosen for its organizational and functional workspace options. Vista Brewing needed easy and quick access to barrels when making and brewing its varied selection of beers. The metal structure’s 30-foot ceiling height permitted the team to easily stack the wine barrels used for aging beer.

A metal building system fit the brewery owners’ desire to effectively control energy costs. The intense Texas heat called for some unique cooling solutions. The builder chose a very high insulation value within the structure to aid in keeping out the summer heat. Karen says, “The 30-foot ceilings help with the hot air rising above where our production team is brewing and working daily. We have been very happy with the ambient temperatures and energy bills.”

For the members of Vista Brewing, being environmentally friendly is one of their core values. For them, an important factor in choosing a metal building was the environmental footprint during construction. The Killoughs felt a metal structure allowed for a less invasive environmental disturbance to the natural surroundings. They have trees that come right up to the walls of their building so construction was carefully choreographed to accommodate the natural setting. Karen says, “We actually changed the roofline in the design in order to showcase and accommodate the tree canopies toward the rear of our building.” She says the metal building “speaks” to visitors and customers, calling attention to the organic atmosphere of the brewery, restaurant and farm.

stony creek brewery
Pat Munger Construction Co., Inc. granted non-exclusive reproduction rights for marketing and promotion for print and electronic use for an unlimited time. Subject photograph(s) are copyrighted by Jim Fiora Studio. All rights are reserved except those specifically granted by this invoice.

STONY CREEK BREWERY

Stony Creek Brewery, located in Branford, Connecticut, required a production facility to fit with its hybrid-designed building that features a tasting room, tap room and event area. The brewery’s business plan originally called for expansion in three years, but the need was reached in three months.

The two-story main structure incorporates a 14,700-square-foot building for a state-of-the-art brewing area. Manuel Rodriguez, senior vice president of operations, says the new addition met their expectations, budget and time constraints. He says, “It is perfect. The budget and the speed at which it was erected were major factors in choosing the structure.”

The 24-foot ceiling heights enabled the installation of large equipment such as a fermentation tank. Rodriguez says, “For this manufacturing facility, we needed space and height to facilitate expansion.
The new addition came through beautifully.
We increased our fermentation and refrigeration within the first year.”

Located on the Branford River, the brewery design offers relaxing waterfront views. Rodriguez says, “The building look fits well in our New England community. The brewery is lovely.” The facility was designed by architect Joseph T. Sepot and built by Pat Munger Construction Company, Inc.

CAPE FEAR VINEYARD & WINERY AND  CAPE FEAR DISTILLERY

cape fear winery
Cape Fear Tasting Room

Award-winning Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery is located near Elizabethtown, North Carolina. Built by Cape Fear Construction Co., Inc., the facility features a winery, cottages and event center. The 13-acre property also houses Cape Fear Distillery, which offers free tastings of the company’s signature hand-crafted gin.

Flexibility was a key consideration for Cape Fear owner, Alex Munroe. He says, “That was an important point for us. We’re growing and a metal building allowed us to add additional square footage with minimal cost.”

From a design standpoint, a metal facility was a very economical way to achieve what his team wanted. “Our facility is so large, we were very cost-conscious; but we also wanted the performance that we expected,” Munroe says. The performance of the structure has checked off all their boxes. Besides filling their equipment needs, the building is energy efficient, virtually maintenance-free and is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.

“Our facility has zero maintenance,” Munroe adds. “From a maintenance standpoint, we never have to do anything. It’s been such a good alternative for us.” In addition, Munroe is impressed with the building’s durability. “After five days of ‘sideways’ rain from Hurricane Florence we had zero leakage. No leaks, no flooding,” he adds.

The flexibility of a metal building solution permitted Munroe to incorporate antique cypress and pine as siding on the interior walls. “The elegance of the wood really complements the metal,” he says. One unexpected bonus of the metal building was enhancement of sound in their event center. Bands frequently entertain at the winery. Munroe says, “We have so many people talk about how good the bands sound and how they appreciate the acoustics in our event space.”

“Every time we add on, we are married to metal,” Munroe says. “It’s versatile, it looks great. You can do many things
with it.”

Erie Brewing Company

ERIE BREWING COMPANY

Erie Brewing Company, in Erie, Pennsylvania, is another award-winning brewery. An aesthetically inspiring space, the 19,000-square-foot metal building includes a brewery, main bar, pizzeria, gift shop, event area and barrel room. A covered mezzanine bar and patio complement the space.

A unique steel beam and glass walkway flows throughout the brewhouse, allowing for self-guided tours of the facility. The structure was built into a hill with a 4-foot raised elevation to take advantage of dramatic Lake Erie views.

The project was designed by Bostwick Design Partnership and built by McCormick Structural Systems, Inc.

SUNKEN CITY BREWING COMPANY

Located in Hardy, Virginia, Sunken City Brewing Company needed a special fit for its new structure. A metal building system gave the production area enough space for a 25-barrel, four-vessel brewhouse. With 8,800 square feet of space, the unique destination features a fermentation area, canning room, tap room and outdoor beer garden. Construction was provided by Avis Construction Company, Inc.

The brewhouse’s unique interior design is inspired by the beautiful vistas of the nearby Smith Mountain Lake, a recreation destination in central Virginia. The metal walls of the tap room feature a hand-painted wall mural of the lake and historic local scenes, making this popular haven for beer lovers both relaxing and refreshing.

DANCING GOAT DISTILLERY

Dancing Goat Distillery

Located in Cambridge, Wisconsin, Dancing Goat Distillery is housed in a 16,700-square-foot metal building structure. The building footprint includes a 7,500-square-foot production space, a 6,250-square-foot storage/equipment area and a 2,950-square-foot tasting room. 

The distillery was designed by Sketchworks Architecture, LLC and built by 1848 Construction, Inc. A metal building system united the interests of Dancing Goat’s ownership and the architect. The structure’s high ceilings were the perfect answer for large equipment organization and storage. The design accommodates a unique setup where security glass surrounds the distillery area, allowing visitors to see how spirits are produced. The building’s three key attributes are presentation, functionality and low maintenance.  RB

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the Metal Building Manufacturing Association (MBMA) and was reprinted with permission. For more information about the MBMA, visit www.mbma.org. 

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