What is a Nano Brewery?

by Kevin on February 20, 2012

In today’s beer market, breweries are lumped into several different categorizes such as Macro, Micro, Craft and Nano. Wait Nano, what is that?

The Brewers Association groups breweries into categorizes based upon how many barrels of beer they brew a year:

• Macro/Large Brewery – Produces over 6,000,000 barrels
• Craft Brewery – Produces less than 6,000,000 barrels
• Microbrewery – Produces less than 15,000 barrels

How much beer does a brewery have to produce to be considered a Nano brewery?

There is not an official number of beer output needed be classified as a Nano brewery, but it is accepted across the beer industry that a Nano brewery is defined based upon the size of its brewery system. A Nano brewery produces beer on a 4 barrel brewing system or less.

• 1 barrel of beer is 31 US gallons
• 1 gallon of beer produces 2 average size 64 oz. Growlers
• 1 barrel of beer produces 62 average size Growlers
• 1 gallon of beer produces 8 average pints of beer
• 1 barrel of beer produces 248 average 16 oz. pints

Relic Brewing Company is an example of a Small Batch Nano brewery that just opened up in Plainville, CT. Mark Sigman is the founder and head brewer of Relic; he brews unfiltered and unpasteurized artisan ales and lagers. I had the opportunity to stop by Relic this past weekend and I was very impressed with the beers I sampled and the amount of passion Mark showed in his new business. Relic currently has a 1 barrel brew system and will soon offer growler fills on the weekends. By focusing on small batches of beer, Relic has been able to produce a wide variety of styles of beer:
• Belgian Wit
• Sunnyside Up Golden Ale
• Midnight Dunkelweizen
• New Zealand Common
• Shipwright IPA
• Octoberfest
• Rustic Brown
• Antiquity
• Double Goat

Relic is a great example of a homebrewer, taking his passion of beer to the next level, but yet remaining small enough to allow them to be creative and innovative in the beers they produce without having as much over head as other microbreweries may have.

The craft beer industry is so unique where the littlest brewery can survive and create great tasting beer that will appeal to anyone’s palette.

Support your local brewery and maybe someday you will follow your passion like Mark and open your own Nano brewery.


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