First there's a handy breakdown of the equipment and its cost needed to set up a brewery in Ireland. Very useful for the time-travelling entrepreneur.
"To establish a brewery in Ireland on a moderate scale would require no great capital. For a concern calculated to turn out 30 barrels per week, two coppers only would be requisite, one to boil fifteen and another to boil six barrels. A mash-keive to answer those coppers should be about 78 inches in diameter and 40 in altitude. The under-back need not be of great capacity, one of five barrels' content would be sufficient, as the liquor is immediately pumped from it to the coppers. The cooler, usually made of inch and quarter plank, should be such as not to admit the worts to be, at any time, more than 2.5 inches in depth, the more shallow the better, but much must depend on the size of the cooler and the magnitude of the apartment where it is erected. Two fermenting tuns, of from 15 to 61 barrels' content each, would be adequate for such an establishment ; they are usually made from American pine. The cost of these articles may be estimated at—
£ s. d. 2 Coppers 60 0 0 1 Mash-keive, or tun 8 0 0 1 Underback, 2 0 0 1 Cooler, 12 0 0 2 Fermenting tuns,.. 12 0 0 A Wort and water pump, 5 0 0 A Handmill for bruising or grinding malt 10 0 0 40 Barrels, at 11s. per barrel 22 0 0 70 Half do. at 18s. do 28 0 0 70 Quarter barrels, at 5s 17 10 0 1 Large Dray,.. 7 0 0 1 Small Dray, 3 10 0 Casks, stillings, troughs, instruments, etc... 40 0 0 Total, £267 0 0
To work a concern of this kind, it would require two men and a boy constantly, with a cooper occasionally to prepare the casks, the expense of which may be reckoned at £40 annually. From these data may be easily calculated, what capital might be necessary for a concern on a larger scale, and which would be proportionably cheaper."
"A philosophical and statistical history of the inventions and customs of Ancient and Modern Nations in the Manufacture and Use of Intoxicating Liquors" by Samuel Morewood, 1838, pages 624 - 625.
Less than 300 quid for a fully functional brewery. I'll have two, please. 30 barrels a week is 1,500 or so barrels in a year. I just happen to know, from some other documents I've been looking at, that in 1832 there were 42 breweries in Ireland of about that size. That's out of a total of 216 breweries. So just about 20% of Irish breweries were this size.
Notice something odd about the prices of the various sizes of barrels? A half barrel is 18 shillings, but a full barrel just 11 shillings. That makes no sense. While we're on the topic of barrels, I was intrigued as to how many were needed to cope with that 30 barrel weekly output. 40 full, 70 half and 70 quarter barrels adds up to a capacity of 92.5 barrels. Or about triple the weekly production. That implies that the beer was no longer than 3 weeks in the barrel. Taking into account the time waiting for the empty to be returned, etc, it probably wasn't more than a fortnight. Presumably a brewery operating on this scale would have only been supplying local outlets.
With just two fermenting tuns, such a brewery couldn't have brewed every day of the week. A couple of brews of 15 barrels each would have tied up the fermenters.
We'll be getting on to a description of the brewing itself next. Exciting, or what?