Moving a Brewery Is More Challenging Than You Might Think

Logistics matter when it comes to craft beer

Beer cans
Logistics play a big role in brewing, whether the scale is small or large.
Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Finding the right location for a craft brewery is an essential challenge for many would-be brewers, but it’s far from the only one. Guinness’s brewery famously has a 9,000-year lease; other establishments don’t have quite as sweet a deal. And in some cases, that can lead to an early departure from the beer world — earlier this week, for instance, the New Jersey-based Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company announced its closure due to being unable to renew its own lease.

And then there’s the case of London’s Forest Road Brewing Co., which literally moved a brewing house from another continent. In a new article for Punch, Mark Dredge recounted the logistical challenges when Forest Road purchased a building — yes, an entire building — from Russian River Brewing, located in the Bay Area.

So, yes — this is a task that involved moving a building from the Pacific coast of the United States to London. Not exactly the kind of logistical maneuver you see every day. Which begs the question: how did they pull it off?

The answer involved disassembling all of the components of the brew house so that they would fit into two 40-foot-long shipping containers, and then putting those on a boat which would, eventually, dock near the site in London where Forest Road planned to rebuild the brew house. This was delayed even further by the early days of the pandemic, but the first beer was produced in the rebuilt facility in late 2021.

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As for why Forest Road’s founder Pete Brown opted for this approach, Dredge explained that Brown had brainstormed his ideal facility — and then saw that the space Russian River was selling lined up with his goals nearly perfectly. Working with an existing brew house had one other benefit, in Brown’s mind — he knew that this facility could produce delicious beer. It’s hard to argue with a compelling proof of concept.


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