Self Storage For The Home Brewer
For the home brewer, it’s a well-known issue that space can be limited. Turning your garage into a micro-brewery is often a solution, but not necessarily the best one. Some may be fortunate enough to have the Real estate needed to set up, ferment, and brew a few batches a year, while others lack the space to store and set up this equipment when its time to brew. If you brew year round, then chances are you are not storing the equipment and bottling supplies much during the year, for the rest of us though, finding space to pack our brewing supplies and bottling supplies can be a bit of a task. There are some solutions that brewers are finding though, and storing brewing supplies, bottles, and the finished product in a temperature-controlled public storage facility is a great option!
If you are just starting out and brewing for self-consumption, or you are looking to take your brew to your local farmers market, you will want to make sure your brew is stored properly until it’s ready to be enjoyed. Temperature controlled environments for fermenting beer with minimal lighting is ideal. Having a space with limited foot traffic will also prevent accidental breakage of bottles and supplies. In my home, a garage is a place where the kids rummage recklessly, so storing bottles of my finest crafts would only be setting myself up for failure. That’s the major reason I turned to temperature controlled storage units to house my beers. Sure, it’s not as convenient as walking out into the garage and grabbing a few, but the temperature control and the safety of the product outweigh the inconvenience.
In time, if you begin to take this craft more seriously you can always build a shed on your property if you have the land, and install an HVAC unit to heat and cool the storage shed as needed. Most of you that are new to brewing will probably get away with finding cupboard space in the house, laundry rooms, attics, and in the garage. But as you grow, a public storage facility becomes a really cool option. Yes, they have temperature controls, but they are also secure, and most of them are open 24 hours a day, making accessibility a non-issue when you want to grab a six pack on a Friday after work.
Brewing and bottling equipment aside, the biggest benefit to the self storage option is the storage of the finished product. I’m not sure if there is anything more satisfying then bottling up batches of beers and storing them in my storage unit. Each time I come back to add the next batch, it looks like an accumulating mass of fine nectar that I am the collector of. Something like a fine wine collector, except this is my body of work that I get to enjoy with my wife and any company that might travel our way.
With beers fermenting in the temperature range of 55-75°F, those living in climates that get extremely cold, or extremely hot, will be dependent on temperature control to make sure their brew batches ferment properly. For those that can’t maintain these temperatures, they may choose to brew seasonally and therefore year long brewing is not an option for them. It doesn’t matter if you decide to brew year long or seasonally, you will also need to know how much space you will need to brew your beer.
I Used A Storage Facility At A Location Like This
In that case, brewing equipment and bottling equipment will need to be stored during those off months. Another reason why a public storage unit is an ideal solution, having your equipment and finished product under one roof helps to keep things organized and inventory accounted for.
Most storage facilities aren’t going to let you set up shop and brew batches in your storage space, so you will be looking to utilize this space for storage only. With that, you don’t need a massive facility, so don’t get oversold on space. You can always upgrade, so keep that in mind as you do your research. Temperature controlled storage units are pretty common, so you shouldn’t have any issue finding a solution for your brews. Many wine collectors use professional storage units to store their bottles, so this isn’t necessarily a new idea but more of a recap of what many are already aware of. Just make sure that you let the manage know what you are storing there and that it is a temperature sensitive product. That way if the HVAC system goes down temporarily they can contact you and you can relocate your product if needed.
The individual storage units are typically lit independently, so they should remain dark at all times while you are not there. The temperature control, however, is not done on a per-unit basis, but for the entire facility. Making sure temperatures sit somewhere between 50-60°F would be ideal for your aging beers.
At the end of the day, a public storage unit is a great option for storing your equipment and your finished product. We suggest that you thoroughly clean your brewing equipment before storing, dirty equipment can begin to smell really funky and potentially be disruptive to your next batch of brews and the neighboring units. Also, buy boxes that will allow you to pack up 12-24 beers and seal them. Having cases to store them in will help during transportation and also protect them from the elements should anything happen in the facility that could cause damage to the product.
Best of luck to you and your home-brewing adventures.