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Hiker Brewing Co.

Update on Progress and The Cold Room and Keg Configuration

A few people have asked me about our Cold Room and my thoughts around using 30 litre kegs instead of 50 litre kegs to maximise storage that I mentioned in my blog post about the floor plan, so I thought I would expand on it in this post.

Firstly, I thought I would give you an update on where we are at, as things are starting to gain some momentum after A LOT of Planning.   

Update as at 8 April 2022

Development Application Submitted

Proof DA has been submitted

The biggest milestone was that last Friday our Town Planner finally submitted our Development Application to Brisbane City Council.  We are relieved that has finally been submitted, as we feel it is the biggest piece of red tape we will have to work through.  Lots of work (and consultancy fees – $30k and counting) has gone into its preparation from acoustics to traffic management.  Whilst we haven’t ticked every compliance box to make it a tick and flick through council, we feel we (touch wood) have put up a good case for approval in a reasonable timeframe (touch wood again).

The Big Clean

A Big Week of Cleaning

We have spent the week, cleaning the shed from over 50 years of accumulated dust and other things.  It was a massive few days cleaning where we found all sorts of things including snake skins, but it feels so much better knowing that the space is clean.

Electrical Work

Work has commenced on the electrical fitout.  We are completely rewiring the whole building (not that it had much wiring to begin with!).  The work should be completed in the next week or so in preparation for our new Main Switch Board being installed by our landlord.  Big thanks to Sean from NNC Electrical who has been very meticulous in his work to ensure we are ready for when the Stainless Steel arrives.

Plumbing Work

Once the Electrical work is completed, work will commence on all our plumbing requirements.  The first part of this will be the cutting of the concrete for our drains in the brewery and bar area. This is scheduled for the 21 April (note to self – take my ear muffs to Base Camp on that day).  Jason Luke from Plumbing Force who has been a godsend, and has helped up alot to date in preparation for the works.  Jason was introduced to by my brother Cam, whom he met whilst hiking the Kokoda Track, Jason also loves craft beer so we have great alignment with what we are seeking to achieve (beer, hiking / trail running).  

The Plumbing work has a bit to it, with the installation of a settlement tank, connection to our carbon filter from Profilt (which is a baby version of the new one recently installed at Black Hops II – I may have taken a photo of the sticker whilst as work! So thanks Dan, Eddie and Govs for making it easy to get a reliable system based on the lab results of the water), but I feel we have covered all bases that we can.    

Bits & Pieces

We have started purchasing a lot of bits and pieces in preparation for the stainless steel arriving such as an air compressor, along with things for the tap room, such as a second hand glass washer.  We have also purchased glasses including samplers that we will use in our tasting paddles, so it is time for my brother Cam to get to work to make them… thanks mate…  

Anyway time to get on with the Cold Room / Keg Configuration discussion….

Cold Room / Keg Configuration

The cold room is now basically installed, and has a footprint of 40 m2 (8.4m x 4.8m).  It is a good size cold room for our needs, and hopefully we won’t grow out of it in a hurry.  The main purpose of building a good size cold room was two fold.  

Firstly, we want to keep all of our stock in house rather than having to store off site at a cold store warehouse, to save costs on storage fees and transport to and from Base Camp.  

Secondly, we want to ensure we can easily move pallets of kegs and cans in and out of the cold room, without double handling, both to save time and minimise and workplace health and safety issues.

The dimensions of the cold room will allow us to use a walker stacker to move pallets in and out effectively.  The layout also provides walking space to access kegs at the back, so we can more easily rotate stock, to ensure beer doesn’t get too old (as fresh beer is best).

Time will tell if this works!

Whilst the configuration will assist with the reduction of manual handling, it definitely will not remove it, and therefore we spent some time exploring the potential of using 30 litre kegs instead to try and minimise the workplace health and safety risks.

We were very keen on using 30 litres, but whilst there are plenty of benefits including being able to store more beer and make it easier for bar staff to move full kegs when required, the financial numbers associated with keg rentals just didn’t stack up (excuse the pun).

For those in the know, keg rental charges are payable on each filling of the keg.  To explain for example for 150 litres of beer (3 x 50L or 5 x 30L) we would be using 66.6% more kegs, meaning rental fees for kegs would be around 50 to 60% more, as the rental price difference isn’t that different between the sizes.  It would also mean more work (and time) required for cleaning kegs – which we were happy to accommodate to reduce workplace, health and safety issues, but unfortunately the financials just don’t stack up.  

As we mentioned in the floor plan post, we will definitely revisit the use of 30 litre kegs when we are in a position to purchase our own fleet for use in the tap room, and also for our rental keg fleet for our wholesale market if we find it easier to sell smaller size kegs to bars and clubs.

If you want to discuss this or if you want any particular topics explored whilst we are on our journey, please reach out and I will be happy to post my views.

Until next time…

Cheers to the journey