Why Metal Buildings are the Best Choice for Breweries

Published February 6, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

metal brewery buildings

You have finally taken the plunge and decided to start your own craft brewery. Breweries are rather cash-intensive businesses, but there is one place you can save money without sacrificing quality.

Build your brewery with steel.

After all, the big breweries do it. They take advantage of the clear span, uninterrupted floor space a steel building can accommodate. We’re talking up to 300 feet without a column. Not only that; steel buildings are easily expanded.


Brewery in a metal building

Steel buildings can be designed for nearly any type of business; it is easy to provide plenty of space for brewing stations and equipment. The building does not need to look like it is made of steel. There is a wide variety of coatings and textured panels in any color and pattern you could think of.

If you want stone walls, you can get panels with stone-look texture and color. Need roll-up doors? Not a problem. You can even design your brewery to attach to an existing structure.

Why structural steel for breweries?

Structural steel provides:

  • Rapid construction
  • Quick fabrication
  • Fast erection cycle

Modern design processes begin with easily shared 3D models and the use of building information modeling, which can tell designers and contractors exactly how much of certain materials will be needed. The model is so complete you can see where every last outlet and fixture will go in the completed building.

Fabrication of your building, once you have settled on all the specifications is fast while remaining within tight tolerances. What that means for you is that when the building kit arrives at the site, there should be no problem putting it together. It comes with all the fasteners, frame members, panels, and everything else your construction crew needs.

When the metal building frame is completed quickly, the trades can get in sooner to do their jobs.

Low-cost leader

In comparison to traditional building materials such as concrete, steel is the cost leader for most projects. A structural steel frame with decking and fire protection can cost 5% to 7% less than framing with concrete.

The savings comes partly from the reduced number of man-hours required to produce steel has dropped dramatically over the past 30 years while the price for materials such as ready-made concrete has more than doubled in that same time.

Designers love steel

Steel has a natural beauty that most architects can’t wait to take advantage of. They like to expose the steel to show slenderness with strength. Again, it does not need to look like steel if you don’t want it to.

Steel allows for long column-free spans; colored coatings are available; and you can have a lot of natural light if you want it. Steel can be bent or rolled to create non-linear members for fresh designs.

Steel is strong

The strength of standard steel has increased over the past decade. It now has more strength than competing materials. For example, steel has a yield strength of 50 ksi or a yield stress of 50,000 pounds psi in both compression and tension.

Normal concrete mix has a yield strength of three to five ksi and only in compression. You can get high strength concrete, but that will only get you 12 to 15 ksi with no increase in tension.

Steel also has a higher strength to weight ratio than other materials, which translates into a lighter building requiring a less extensive, and less expensive, foundation.

Steel is sustainable

Steel is the most recycled material on Earth. It is itself made of 88% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. Steel is fully reusable without additional processing, and its carbon footprint has been reduced by about 10% each decade for the past three.

Hardly any water is used; the water that is added remains in a closed-loop system and is never discharged into the environment. There is no water used in fabrication and no water discharged at the building site.

Steel is efficient

As we mentioned earlier, steel allows you to optimize the space efficiency of your brewery. You can have long spans to maximize usable floor space. Floor-to-floor heights can be reduced due to the integration of the ventilation system into the structural spaces.

Steel is reliable

Steel is manufactured under tightly controlled conditions and standards. The final strength of the material is verified at the point of production, not when it has already been erected into the frame.

U.S. domestic production has the capacity to meet demand easily in the foreseeable future. Most steel service centers keep three months of inventory available, so there are no delays in construction.

metal breweries

benefits of Steel brewery buildings

  • Steel is highly durable, able to withstand extreme weather and seismic activity. Any repairs are quickly made.
  • Metal buildings are affordable; metal construction is 30% less expensive than traditional construction due in part to the smaller foundation and shorter construction time.
  • Steel is nearly maintenance free, crucial for a place that makes something for humans consume. You should have no trouble remaining in compliance with existing food and safety standards. Purchasing fewer cleaning and maintenance supplies also leaves more money for other things.
  • Steel can be designed into anything, so you can have a brewery built to your taste, as it were. Later, it is easy to expand or modify as your business changes.

Craft beer production was up almost 10% in 2013. Craft breweries are beginning to get a significant portion of the market from the large breweries. Some of the reasons for their success include a customer base with disposable income; over half have annual incomes of $75,000 or more. Craft brewers can make a unique beer product.

A steel building brings operational efficiencies you won’t get in any other material. With all of this going for it, choosing steel should be a no-brainer. You have plenty of other equipment, materials, and marketing to sink your money into. Start off with a cost-effective building that can suit your needs for years to come.


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