A third estimate on the concrete work for the brewery was received this Saturday. This fellow, let’s call him “Anaximander”, pointed out that our slab & cellar design was costing us unnecessarily in both money and space. He countered our design with a design for a full cellar with either supports for the boiler etc. cast into the cellar or a concrete floor spanning the whole cellar. The thought of the concrete span was something that had not occurred to me, even though I drive a loaded tanker across one regularly as part of the duties of my real job.
The biggest advantage to Anaximander’s design was the increase of cellar space, which equates to an increase in fermenter space. The biggest factor in a brewery’s ultimate capacity is fermenter space. A boiler may be used up to three times per day. A fermenter may be occupied from one week to months at a time. Thus, fermenter capacity tends to be the limiting factor in a brewery’s capacity. So Anaximander’s design has the potential to greatly increase the final capacity of our brewery.
The most intriguing part of Anaximander’s suggestion was also the most cost saving. He offered to put up his equipment and act as contractor if I could provide a crew. No need for experience, he would teach us the basics of pouring a concrete foundation. I already have a few ideas for crew members. Plus we would save the cost of labor. This would cut the total cost of the concrete work nearly in half.
So what we have is a chance to save some money and learn a new skill. To me, that looks like a pretty good deal.