Frequently Asked Questions
What is SmartBrew®?
SmartBrew® is a truly unique, automated brewing system designed for the hospitality industry. Restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos and retailers using SmartBrew® can brew world-class craft beers onsite in as little as 150 square feet. The SmartBrew® system is controlled by a PLC which monitors the process and ensures perfect, consistent craft beers. A standard SmartBrew system that has four (4) 5BBL fermenters ( 4x5BBL ) and is capable of producing 20 to 80 kegs per month. The SmartBrew is automated including cleaning / sterilizing the fermenter tanks after each brew. Through Collaborative Brewing – you have a BrewMaster (Brian Watson) who works offsite and prepares the prepackaged High Gravity Wort that is shipped to you for fermenting your beer recipes. An internal resource will be trained in less than two days to operate the SmartBrew during installation and you always have our Help Desk to answer any questions during the entire process.
What is wort? Where does it come from?
Wort. ... Wort (/ˈwɜːrt/) is the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer or whisky. Wort contains the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol. Therefore, Wort is the raw material to produce beer. It is made in one of our breweries in New Zealand and Germany and then converted to High Gravity Wort and then packaged to be used by our SmartBrew Customers. Our High-Gravity Wort is brewed in our production facility, under the supervision of our BrewMaster Brian Watson. The beer goes through the same brewing process as any other premium micro-brewed beer — the SmartBrew® system just automates the process and ensures a consistent, high-quality product. There are no preservatives, just pure freshly brewed natural beer.
Does SmartBrew use extract? NO SMARTBREW DOES NOT USE EXTRACT!!!!!
Again the Answer is NO!!!!. Like most large reputable breweries around the world, we produce multiple streams of High Gravity Wort made from Wort. Through a proprietary evaporation process, the Wort converted into High Gravity Wort that was made from the best ingredients to be deliverable to brewers around the world without sacrificing any quality. We will never produce extract. Extract is either a powder or a thick gooey syrup the consistency of molasses that typically needs to be heated for mixing.
How does it work?
We use only fresh High Gravity Wort made by world-class breweries, not from extract. Our award-winning proprietary High Gravity Wort is shipped in a proprietary packaging and then shipped to the SmartBrew Customer. The High Gravity Wort is then connected to the SmartBrew Control Unit that transfers it to the selected fermenter tank, where the fresh, High Gravity Wort is fermented, carbonated and chilled ready to serve. Once the beer has been served, the SmartBrew®fermenters clean and sanitize automatically and prepare the system for the next brew.
Have SmartBrew beers won any medals?
Yes our SmartBrew Customers have won medals using the SmartBrew system. To date our SmartBrew Customers' have been awarded 30 medals at multiple international competitions against thousands of competitive entries.
I want to visit a SmartBrew Customer and taste their beers. How do I do that?
We encourage you to visit an operating SmartBrew Customer and we want nothing more than to have you sample what will likely be the finest craft beers you've ever had the pleasure of drinking. We also encourage this so you can see the dramatic theatre of a SmartBrew system. Contact your local rep and ask where you can see one.
How is the beer dispensed?
Your beer can be stored in the SmartBrew fermenter/brite tanks, kegged or served direct from the fermenter/brite tank to tap. Our beverage dispense partners will be able to provide all of your bar needs, including connections to beer line, beer systems, manifolds, kegging equipment, beer pumps for a complete dispense solution
How many beer styles does the system produce?
The base model comes with four (4) fermenters. This means you can make four (4) beers at a time, kegged off and start the process all over again. The beer takes 7-18 days to ferment / produce, depending on the style being brewed. Brian Watson has created High Gravity Wort streams that allows venues to create virtually every style.
How long does it take to install?
Installation is a cinch, taking a maximum of four days and is scheduled to minimize impact on your existing business operations. Where operators are required to place the fermenters in their preferred designated area, SmartBrew takes care of the rest. You will just need water access ( cold and hot ), electrical 220 single phase, air compressor, CO2, and a drain.
What is the lead-time?
Demand is high. You should anticipate a four-month lead-time from receipt of deposit to installation.
Are SmartBrew systems scalable?
They are! Any SmartBrew system can be scaled to incorporate a total of six fermenters on one control unit. We can add these after your original install so you can grow your system as your business demands. Note that 5bbl fermenters can only be added to 5bbl systems. 10bbl systems can only be added to 10bbl systems.
Do I get customer support?
You do - we have a full electric Help Desk ! We're lucky enough to have offices and brilliant staff in multiple timezones around the world, which means our support ticket system is extremely efficient. It's also very user friendly.
How much space do I need?
A 4x5bbl brewery occupies 150 sq. feet with dimensions of 18 ft x 4 ft and 9 ft high (10 sq. meters with dimensions of 5 m x 2 m x 3 m high). You will need a 10.8-ft ceiling clearance (3.5 m) to open the fermenter hatches. Recommended space for a 4 x 5bbl system is 18' x 9'. This allows the necessary room to move around the system.
Who operates the system? Is experience required?
YOU operate it! and NO you do not need brewing experience! The SmartBrew system is fully automated and we train your team when we install the system. Any if you have questions we have a Help Desk and can remotely connect to the system and assist you as well.
What do I have to do and how much time does it take?
The SmartBrew is fully automated. You simply enter in the recipe and follow the intuitive instructions on the screen. Simply connect the High Gravity Wort containers to the system. Touch screen commands initiate the transfer of High Gravity Wort to the selected tank. Then you will need to add the Yeast to the tank and the system then adds the water from your local source. From this point forward the beer’s condition is monitored by the SmartBrew Control Unit. Ten minutes daily is all you require to test a small sample of beer using the simple test kit supplied. The system can be monitored by any computer, tablet, or smartphone -- which will confirm when the beer has completed fermentation. The SmartBrew system even automatically removes excess yeast from the tank, and carbonates. All SmartBrew® beers are unfiltered and beyond fresh.
Who is currently using the system?
There are operational SmartBrew® systems in United States, Canada, New Zealand, Caribbean and Australia,
What does the system include?
The SmartBrew® system includes: four to six stainless fermenters ( pending your model you purchase ) from which the beer can be fermented, conditioned and served. An automatic Control Unit with touchscreen controls, houses the PLC; automated valves; pumps and instrumentation. A glycol chiller for cooling the fermenters in selected systems.
Will I be offering my own beer brands?
Yes these are made to have your BRAND name on them!
Is "Leasing" available?
It is indeed. Reach out to us and we'll gladly connect you with our preferred leasing company(s) who happens to specialize in breweries. Your lease costs can be as low as $ 1, 495.00 per month with approved credit.
What support does SmartBrew owned by Natural Brew Inc. provide?
Natural Brew Inc. has a full-time BrewMaster and brewing team, a logistics coordinator, and technical support available as required. Support can be reached via our fully staffed Help Desk. The SmartBrew system can also be monitored remotely via a computer, tablet, or smartphone -- which our team can access your system as well. Our business supports you as you make and sell the best beers possible.
What ongoing supplies do I need? How do I get them?
The raw materials used to brew great beer includes High Gravity Wort, yeast, yeast food, and various hop products. We will provide all materials as it relates to your High Gravity Wort needs. We have preferred vendors for the other items you will need to brew your beer(s).
What permits or licenses are required to install the SmartBrew® System?
Every region has its own codes governing brewing alcohol. In most cases, you require a local producer’s license and a federal excise license. These are relatively straightforward to obtain. Other permits may include EPA or local council approval. It is also important to be aware of local, state or provincial regulations affecting the production of liquor. These are your responsibility to obtain such license(s).
Can I fill and sell Growlers, Crowlers or Cans?
You can easily fill Growlers, Crowlers or Cans directly from your tank or in some cases your actual beer taps ( Growlers or Crowlers only). However, whether or not you can sell packed beer to your patrons to take home will depend on local laws. In many parts of North America, you will only be able to sell packaged beer after obtaining a special license.
Is there a warranty?
The system is backed by a warranty which is outlined in your sales contract. The controller has Two Years; and the Fermenters have five years - terms and conditions are in the sales contract.
How much is produced each batch?
Basically one 5BBL Fermenter Tank will product 10 Kegs ( 1/2 barrel ), and one 10BBL Fermenter will product 20 Kegs ( 1/2 barrel ).