Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Drive In Cooler

The other massive project we tackled while we were working to get the brew house up and running was construction of our walk in cooler.  We pretty much bought the largest cooler we could afford and that would fit into our space.  The reason we wanted a larger cold space is that since we are self-distributing our beers we will be storing them until on site until we deliver them to retail accounts.  Since we won’t be shipping our kegs off to a distributor in bulk once they are packaged we wanted a large enough space to keep all our beer stored cold.  We also wanted to have enough space to properly age some kegs and / or barrels.  

We ended up getting a used box that was 36 feet long, 18 feet wide and 16 feet tall.  It’s about 650 square feet of cold box goodness.  We realized once it was up that it was larger than the last apartment my wife and I shared in the city by about 150 square feet—and we lived there for five years.  It should be a good home for our kegged beer, hops and anything we plan to age.  Since we bought it used, it was delivered to us as a stack of loose panels in the back of a tractor trailer.

It took us about three hours to get the massive 8x8 door and about forty 16x4 panels unloaded by hand off the truck.  At least this gave the driver a chance to take a nice afternoon nap in the cab.   

As you can see from the photo organizing the panels happened another day. Getting the box built was one of the more difficult things we had to do.  We were told the box is self supporting and that each panel locks into the one next to it.  It’s true that the panels lock into one and other, but that’s only true if the locks work.  It also seemed that it would be better to add some type of support to hold the roof up.  This ended up taking the most time.  

We started by getting the three walls built, then we planned to add the roof, then the front with the door.  The cold box doors supported by our warehouse walls were not that difficult to get up, but the free standing walls were a little more difficult. 

Because the panels are 16 feet tall they were difficult to stand up and get into place without tipping over.  Again, the forklift was crucial in getting these into place. 

After getting the outer walls built we lifted the ceiling panels on with the forklift.   We chose to support them with threaded rod and unistruts from the existing roof but this took a while


Once we finally got the ceiling on, we needed to cut a few panels to build in a space for the door then hang the surprisingly heavy sliding door on the tracks.  After that we brought  in a refrigeration guy to hook the cooling unit up and we were on our way. Two quick coats of white paint and the box was finished.  


  1. Congratulations! You've done a lot of hardwork and you all deserve a pint of beer. Cheers! The equipment are quite impressive and modern. Let's hope this will help you meet your quotas while preserving quality.

    Duane Williams

  2. Good job! Storage is vital, especially for beer and other types of perishables. The temperature can affect the quality of the drink, right? Keeping them in an ideal environment should help the brew stay nice and cool.

    Matilda Nelson