Contract Brewing/Packaging FAQs
What is contract brewing and/or packaging?
Simply put contract brewing is where you (the Buyer) supplies a recipe to a brewery (the Supplier) and they brew the beer and package it for you on their equipment. Alternatively, the beer can be delivered to the brewery for packaging only.
Is there a minimum or maximum volume?
The minimum volume is usually 1000L for brewing and 600L for packaging, in some cases it will be more. The maximum volume can be up to tens of thousands of litres.
Do I have to provide the ingredients?
No it is not necessary to provide the ingredients as the brewery will include the cost of these in the quote. However, if you do have your own ingredients or wish to use an unusual adjunct or hop type you can specify this when you contact us and we will discuss this with you when we quote.
What packaging options are there?
Our contract brewing/packaging offers the full range of packaging options (Bottle, Can, Keg, Cask, Bulk Container, mini-keg, etc.). Minimum amounts per option may be applicable although we can split across more than one packaging type if the order is larger than 1600L.
Can I have my brew in mixed packaging?
Yes. When you request a quote you can split your brew into as many variants as you wish, you will need to inform us of the numbers of each packaging that you would require as minimums may be applicable.
How long does it take to brew the beer?
This will depend on the style of the beer and the schedule we are currently working to as contract slots are often booked up weeks in advance. The sooner you can commit to your contract and pay the deposit, the better. We can then confirm your contract slot and timescales. Standard timescales would be:
Ale: 10-12 days to brew, ferment, chill and transfer. Filling days based on 3000 bottles or cans per day. Packaging days based on 3000 bottles or cans per day. Delivery 2 days.
Lagers: 15-20 days to brew, ferment, chill and transfer. Lagering time dependent on customer preference (normally 2-6 weeks). Filling days based on 3000 bottles or cans per day. Packaging days based on 3000 bottles or cans per day. Delivery 2 days.
Keg filling: 60 kegs per day.
Cask filling: 160 casks per day.
It’s important to remember that we also have to rely on external providers to deliver to us. Therefore:
- Labels normally take 10-12 business days to be printed and delivered.
- Sleeved cans normally take 3-5 weeks to be printed, sleeved and delivered.
- Kegs and casks normally take up to 10 business days to be delivered.
These timescales can/will be built into, and coordinated with the brewing and packaging schedules.
Can I do a test brew first?
Yes. If you wish to do a test brew first you will need to discuss this with us. There is also be a cost associated with a test brew and you will need to consider the additional time this will take. A test brew generally takes as long as a full brew to produce.
Can you develop recipes for me?
Yes. We can develop a recipe and provide a full pilot brew and samples of the recipe. This service is charged at £750 + VAT. The IP from the recipe belongs fully to you as the customer. You will receive a report outlining the recipe and processes required to replicate the beer.
How can I ensure the beer tastes the same as when I make it?
This can depend on a number of variables. A clear, concise recipe is a key element. You should also discuss any possible variations in ingredients with us (for example water profile and pH, ingredient suppliers, equipment design, specific processes, etc.). We will always endeavour to ensure your beer is as close to the original as is possible.
Can I go to the brewery when they are brewing my beer?
Generally, in a contract brew you supply the recipe, and the supplier brews the beer for you without your involvement. It may be possible to be present on the brew day, however this is normally discouraged as we want to concentrate on creating your beer perfectly and not need to worry about your health and safety.
Do I need to supply the labels?
As a minimum you will need to provide the artwork to us to give to our label producer. Alternatively, it’s fine for you to supply your own labels from your own supplier but we then cannot 100% guarantee that they will be fully compatible with our labelling machine. Ideally, in this scenario we would need approximately 50-100 labels to test through our machine first. Therefore, ensure you have your artwork ready when you are ready to make an order as time may be of the essence for us to test your labels first.
Our labelling machine accepts labels up to 2000 labels, outside wound, left edge leading.
How will my beer be delivered and to where?
If you require delivery you must state this when you make your order, along with where you want the beer delivered. Depending on how much beer you order and in what packaging it may be delivered by post (samples), courier or on a pallet. You should discuss your delivery requirements with the us. Our delivery charges are at cost and are £60 + VAT per pallet.
Can you store my beer?
We do have some limited capacity to store beer for an agreed amount of time. You will need to specify in your order that you require storage as there may be a storage charge required.
What about duty?
You can state on the order if you wish the beer to include duty or not. This will be determined by the type of HMRC registration you hold as this controls whether you can hold beer brewed at another location at your premises. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the relevant licenses and permissions in place.
What filtration methods do you use?
Filtration can be very subjective and will have numerous effects on the finished product, from clarity, to flavour, aroma, to shelf life.
In general, and as a guideline only:
- No filtration – maximum flavour and aroma, beer will probably be hazy and shelf life will be approximately 3 months.
- Coarse filtration – flavour and aroma are mostly fully retained, beer may be hazy, shelf life will be approximately 6 months.
- Bright filtration – flavour and aroma may be slightly reduced, beer should be clear, shelf life will be approximately 9 months.
- Sterile filtration – flavour and aroma will be reduced somewhat, beer will be crystal clear, shelf life will be a minimum of 12 months.
What are your QA/QC controls?
We are a fully accredited SALSA plus Beer facility (https://www.salsafood.co.uk/about.php?p=7) and as such our processes, procedures, and controls adhere to and are audited against these rigorous quality standards to ensure we are producing quality products. We are happy to provide copies of any our policies and quality documentation.
What size of packaging do you offer?
50L (steel only)
9 gallon (steel only)
What sort of kegs can you fill/supply?
We fill and supply any keg that has a standard S-type coupling. This includes eKegs, Kegstsar, Ecokeg, Dolium, etc. Other kegs and keg fittings can be utilised but may attract a tooling cost.
How will the cans/bottles arrive to us? Can we provide boxes?
Cans and bottles will arrive to you shrink wrapped in carboard trays. As standard our bottles are packaged into trays of 12 and our cans are packaged into trays of 24. The shrink wrap we use is made from recycled materials and is fully recyclable.
Do you brew and package in-house or do you contract out the canning/bottling etc?
Everything we do is in-house. We find it much more beneficial to keep control of every aspect of production. It also has the added benefit of reducing our carbon footprint, something we are passionate about.
White Label beers FAQS
What beer styles can I get?
You can request any beer style you like, except for our Boss Brewing Black. Our most frequently requested styles are below.
- Lager - Pale yellow in colour they typically have a crisp, clean flavour with medium-high levels of carbonation. These beers are designed to be refreshing. ABV in the range of 4.0-5.0%.
- Pale Ale - A pale copper coloured beer. Tending to have citrus, piney hop flavour. Easy drinking session beer. ABV in the range of 4.0-5.5%.
- IPA - (American style). IPA stands for India Pale Ale and it is the stronger version of a pale ale. Still copper in colour although may be hazy. Very hop forward aroma and flavour. Abv in the range 5.0-7.5%.
How long until I get my beer?
Lead times for beer will vary. It is made to order so we have to factor in time for production, packaging and artwork. We aim to have the beer in your hand, ready to drink, within 4-6 weeks, although it can be slightly longer. Please clearly state your event date or deadline when ordering as we will endeavour to accommodate shorter lead times if necessary, but can’t always guarantee this.
Do I need a license to sell my beer?
First and foremost it is YOUR responsibility to ascertain exactly what licenses, permissions, etc., that you require. However, as a general guideline, the following applies:
- Free Beer - If you are giving away your beer (for example a welcome gift at an event / free bar at a wedding or event), you do not require a Personal Licence (although you will likely need a Temporary Events Notice (TENs) for the event itself unless the venue has a premises licence).
- Promotional Beer - If you are giving the product linked to a purchase (for example a free case of beer with every purchase of another product) you do need a licence.
- Selling beer direct to consumer - If you are SELLING beer direct to consumers to consume on the premises you will need a premises licence and a personal alcohol licence, and if it is a one off event you will most likely need a TENs. If you are looking to sell closed containers to the public to take away you will need an off-licence.
- Selling beer online - To sell alcohol online you need a Personal and Premises licence for where you will store the beer.
- Selling beer to retailers - If you are looking to sell the beer to retailers you will require an AWRS licence.
- Duty suspended - if you are intending to buy beer duty suspended and pay your own duty, then you will also require a brewery licence.
Can I try the beer?
Yes of course you can. You’ll be dealing with a dedicated account manager who can organise samples for you to try.
- ABV - Alcohol by Volume - this is how strong the beer is.
- Vegan - This beer is completely free of animal products or derivatives.
- Fined/Unfined - Finings are processing aids to remove yeast and protein haze. Fined beer will be clear whereas unfined maybe cloudy or hazy. This is natural and does not affect the taste of the beer.
- Gluten Free - Only foods that contain 20 ppm or less can be labelled as 'gluten-free'. Beers that are gluten free are brewed in such a way as to not include gluten and are therefore suitable for those with a gluten intolerance.
How is my beer shipped?
Your beer will be shipped with specialised couriers (not everyone is allowed to deliver beer). For larger volumes you may receive your delivery on a pallet. If this is the case we will inform you.
How should I store my beer?
Light and high temperatures are the enemies of beer so at home the best way to store beer is in the fridge. If this is not possible the beer should be stored somewhere dark and cool. Beer should also be stored upright. All beer should be consumed as soon as possible after delivery to enjoy it in peak condition.
What packaging can I choose from?
You can have your beer in cans, kegs, casks and bottles. If you’re choosing between bottles and cans we recommend cans. They are more environmentally friendly as they are completely recyclable, chill better, are less likely to damage and much easier to transport.
Can I order different styles and will they arrive at the same time?
When you place your order we'll give you a lead time. We like to deliver your beer as quickly as possible to make sure it's fresh. We also prefer to deliver in one shipment to reduce any logistical issues. Please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if.uk you have any special delivery requirements.
What’s your lead times? Like anything, have peaks and troughs throughout the year. Generally, say to allow a couple of months. Get in touch to know more.
What’s the price? Entirely depends on recipe. In the first instance, we will ask you to send it over – happy to sign an NDA first. If you don’t have a recipe, you may be interested in our recipe design service?
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176 Neath Road, Landore, Swansea, SA1 2JT