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Why Do Breweries Have Pilot Brewing Systems?

Feb. 02, 2023

Every brewery has a brewing system, and this system is where they produce the vast majority of their beer. Pilot brewing systems are auxiliary systems used by breweries. Typically, they produce only a small percentage of the beer compared to the primary system.

Pilot Brewery System

Why Do Breweries Have Pilot Brewing Systems?

Recipe Development

Pilot brewing systems allow breweries to experiment with new recipes and ingredients on a smaller scale. This allows them to test and refine recipes before committing to larger, commercial-scale batches.

Quality Control

By brewing smaller batches, the pilot system allows for more control and precision in the brewing process. This allows brewers to identify and resolve any quality control issues before larger batches are produced.


The pilot brewing system provides an opportunity for new brewers or brewers to gain hands-on experience in the brewing process. This is especially important for small or start-up breweries, which often have limited resources to invest in training programs.

Research and Development

Pilot systems also play a key role in the ongoing research and development efforts of breweries. Through pilot systems, breweries can test new methods, techniques and equipment to help keep their brewing processes at the forefront of the industry.

Collaboration and innovation

Finally, pilot brewing systems can foster collaboration and innovation in the brewing community. Breweries can collaborate to create unique and innovative beers that will drive the industry forward.

Why Not Brew Everything in Bulk on the Main System?

There are two factors: risk and volume.

Pilot brewing systems in many cases, experimental beers are produced on pilot brewing systems. If the beer doesn't go well, they prefer to handle a small amount of beer. This minimizes the financial risk.

Even if the beer does turn out as expected, it does not mean that there is a demand for a specific style or flavor. Therefore, producing small quantities of beer is often ideal for limiting the number of beers.

Larger brewing systems do not allow for such volume or risk control.

This thought process applies to all breweries. Pilot systems are valuable for every brewery, regardless of size.

For example, as breweries grow, they often require brewing capacity beyond what their systems can handle. In this case, breweries cannot afford to waste time brewing pilot beers on their primary system. All of their brewing capacity must be focused on producing their flagship beers.

On the other hand, a brewery with a brand new system (either at opening or after expansion) may find that their additional brewing capacity is too large to risk a test batch of a new recipe.

In both cases, therefore, these breweries will need to test new recipes without interrupting their normal brewing schedule. They both want the option to limit their risk if the new beer does not meet their taste or quality standards.

Are you interested in learning more about pilot brewing systems for sale and how they can benefit you? Contact us today to secure an expert consultation!

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