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2017 Master Brewers Conference
42. Brewery master planning—The importance of strategizing growth

Joseph Trombley, Barry Wehmiller Design Group, Concord, NH, U.S.A.

Friday, October 13
1:45–3:30 p.m.
Imperial Salon B

In the rapidly expanding craft beer industry, planning for and understanding your current and future business model requirements will create a more robust strategy to capital expense budgeting. In the current brewing environment, new breweries are being constructed on capital constrained budgets and existing breweries are implementing projects focused on immediate needs. This drives reactionary projects that might solve immediate issues but create long-term impediments. Ask yourself this question: have you ever said, "In hindsight, I wish we…" after completing a project? The main objective of this paper is to provide an understanding of the importance of implementing a brewery master plan, how to maintain this resource, and how to make strategic decisions to business and market fluctuations that can reduce or eliminate wasted capital. For starters, many adhere to the concept that cost, quality, and schedule are the indicators of a successful project. Instead, we should be measuring success on a broader scale. Will this project impact future plans? Is it expandable? Did it minimize costs, maximize quality, remain on schedule, and set us up to do the same over a lifetime of initiatives? A single project can only be considered successful if it aligns with both the short-term and long-term strategic growth models. When a new brewery, addition, or capacity expansion is completed based on an immediate need, it’s based on sales or production constraints. More often in this industry than in any others, projects are implemented internally using available resources. The realities are many breweries do not have designers or master planners on staff, which limits the approach to the specific skills of the operational team. For a master plan to demonstrate its operational and financial value, it is critical to consider the big picture. For example, adding fermentation capacity doesn’t mean just adding vessels. It requires equipment location, utility planning to account for short- and long-term needs, and for the effort to have minimized impact on future efforts. In a time where capital is key (especially in the early years of a start-up) spending money on a master plan can seem wasteful, especially when leveraging suppliers is more desirable than paying for a road map to a strategic decision. After all, you are getting the designs and the equipment from a supplier at once, right? In reality, this is rarely the case. You are simply purchasing schematics with just enough detail to complete the scope. This may be fine if it aligns with your future needs, which should have analyzed all functions of the facility. The intent of this document is to educate the industry on ways to align strategic growth with your site, building, production, and utilities through the use of brewing capacity, cycle time, packaging, and warehousing analysis models. Remember, success will be measured by eliminating those "In hindsight…" revelations after the initiation or completion of your projects.

Joseph Trombley has been supporting Barry Wehmiller Design Group as a senior facilities planner for close to ten years. He has a bachelor’s degree in architectural design and a master’s degree in both operations and project management as well as an MBA. He spent the first eight years of his career in the field working on construction projects across many disciplines. As a planner, his skills have positioned him to work with clients across a variety of industries to provide strategic solutions to project visions. His diverse background has provided him with a deep understanding of the general principles used across several disciplines, including site, building structure and utilities, process, packaging, supply chain, and logistics, which provide the necessary tools to analyze the short- and long-term objectives of an operation. He has spent the bulk of his career focusing his efforts on working within the brewing industry. He has had the great opportunity to visit and learn from more than 100 brewing operations of all sizes across the United States. Coupling this with experience in other industries, he has developed a diverse, extremely thorough knowledge of different business models, production strategies, and growth models, which allows him to provide top tier planning solutions.

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