Look At The Big Picture Not Just Initial Cost When Buying Brewing Equipment

There Are Many Things To Consider When Buying New Equipment for Your Craft Brewery And Cost Is Just One.

Let’s be honest. Whether you’re a startup craft brewery looking to buy your first brewing tanks or an established craft brewer looking to expand, cost plays a large role in selecting your equipment provider. Chinese equipment may seem cost-effective at first glance – and that can be especially enticing to brewers with limited funds. However, in the craft brewing industry, the choice of equipment can significantly impact a business’s long-term success. Investing in Chinese-made equipment rather than domestically produced equipment could mean the downfall of your business. Here’s why.

When you buy Chinese brewing equipment, even uninstalled 75% of its resale value is lost the day after purchase. Masters of duplication, commoditizing, and creating cheap products to be sold at a low price, Chinese-made equipment is simply not of the same quality as that which is manufactured domestically. Uninstalled brewing equipment made in the United States can be resold at full value the day after purchase and retains more than 75% of its value for up to three years AFTER purchase. installation and use in production. While Chinese equipment may initially seem the most economical choice, that decision immediately costs your balance sheet 75% of asset value on day one, not to mention impacting the quality and taste of your craft brew and therefore the success of your business.

The quality of the materials used in craft brewing equipment is paramount to ensuring the production of the highest-quality craft beer. While Chinese brewing equipment has the appeal of initially being cost-effective, the quality of stainless steel used in that equipment can be questionable due to the lack of quality control and testing regulations. Domestic equipment is often manufactured using superior-quality stainless steel, which ensures durability, resistance to corrosion, and optimal hygiene standards. Choosing domestically manufactured tanks also helps brewing businesses maintain consistent product quality, avoid costly repairs or replacement, and enhance their reputation for excellence.

Sourcing equipment from China also means investing in manufacturers who often build their equipment with little regard for the environment or for humane labor conditions. Companies using American steel to craft their equipment use materials generated under strict environmental guidelines – as evidenced by the fact that Chinese stainless steel manufacturers have carbon emissions that are 2x or more higher than  American stainless steel manufacturers when producing the same quantity of steel. Additionally, steelmakers in America spend 80% more per ton of steel to reduce the pollution levels to air and water than steelmakers in China. The low cost of Chinese brewery equipment isn’t just from the poor quality steel used to manufacture it, it’s also due to the lack of action to protect the environment. Similarly, China reportedly uses forced labor in the production of coal and stainless steel used in their tanks.

Ultimately, domestic brewing equipment offers craft brewers “peace of mind” and long-term value for their purchase. As a manufacturer of new craft brewing equipment and reseller of used brewing equipment for over 12 years, I can tell you from firsthand experience that your investment in US-made equipment will pay you back. And, in a world where you and your customer are attempting to make positive environmental and social choices, you can also be confident in the ethical standards upheld by domestic manufacturers. Breweries can reduce their carbon footprint and support domestic industries committed to sustainable manufacturing and fair labor practices.

Effective customer service is mandatory for the success of brewing equipment manufacturers and their customers. Buying domestically manufactured brewing equipment ensures prompt and reliable customer support to facilitate quick resolutions to any technical issues or questions that may arise. Some US-based manufacturers even offer “buy back” guarantees to lenders, making financing that much simpler. In contrast, language barriers, time zone differences, and limited infrastructure to support equipment post-sale from thousands of miles away can hinder effective and supportive communication with Chinese suppliers. Brewers deserve to work with equipment manufacturers who are there for the long haul, and who don’t just want to make a sale, but who want to be your partner in making you and your business flourish. Unfortunately, the low cost of Chinese brewing equipment can’t buy you that.

Choosing the right equipment can make or break your craft brewing business. While Chinese brewing tanks may initially seem like an attractive option, the advantages of domestic brewing equipment (and the shortcomings of Chinese manufactured products) far outweigh the short-term cost savings. What will at first seem to be an economic decision will likely result in lower quality beer, expensive repairs,  and a frustrating customer service experience. By opting for domestic brewing equipment, breweries and business owners can maintain high-quality standards, ensure ethical manufacturing, and work together to achieve long-term success, prosperity and growth.

Portland Kettle Works was founded in 2011 to build the highest quality stainless steel brewing and beverage equipment applications. Since then we have built and installed hundreds of state-of-the-art craft breweries worldwide. Our craft brewers are among the best of the best and they have the gold, silver and bronze medals to prove it. If you’re serious about craft brewing as a business, contact us and we can help you, too. And if you’re located in Mexico or Latin America, click here to visit our Spanish language site.