If you’ve ever toured a brewery in Maine there is a chance you’ve seen something that’s been fabricated by Tigpro.
Tigpro is a stainless steel fabrication shop out of Portland, Maine that has been in business since 2000. Owner, Kenny Welton spent years and countless hours honing his skills before setting off on his own. Elbow grease, work ethic and plenty of shiny stainless steel have built Tigpro into the business it is today.
Tigpro works on a variety of commercial and residential projects ranging from tanks and pipework for the dairy and food processing industry as well as biotechnical plants right down to countertops, sinks and even furniture, if you can build it out of stainless Tigpro probably has.
In 2009 Tigpro made the connection between the dairy and food processing tanks they were building and the equipment used in the brewing industry, this connection couldn’t come at a better time, around 2010 craft brewing in Maine had turned a corner and was about to blow up. I contacted John Squadrito, Sales Account Manager for Tigpro and asked him some questions about the company:
What kind of planning goes into a Tigpro fabricated brewhouse? From what I can tell they are not all “Cookie Cutter” systems, do brewers request customization or is it a basic setup with add-on packages?
“Quite a bit of planning goes into the design, fabrication and delivery of our tanks. Usually Kenny and I do a rough sketch on paper for dimensions, ports, piping, catwalks, stairs and any “custom” requests including a parts list depending on what the client has for specific needs. Then we hand our art school-graduate sketches over to our CAD guy for him to work his magic. From there, we get an approval from our client and make any changes necessary. Once the drawings are signed off on we send it to our office manager, Nelson, to get the sheet metal and valves ordered and he gives us an accurate lead-time to base our production schedule off of. Once the parts arrive to our shop we begin fabrication. Every piece of metal is rolled, cut and shaped in house. The only things we don’t make are the man-ways and valves. It’s a very creative process to watch.”
Obviously it varies based on the size and customization’s but how long does a standard, 7-barrel brewhouse take to fabricate?
“There is never really a standard lead-time or design. It all depends on what is on the production board and what stages we are at with current jobs. I would say anywhere from 3-6 months to be safe.”
Do you install the final product or is that up to the brewer?
“We do offer full installation services. Obviously the electrical is done by a professional electrician for pumps and such.”
Does Tigpro stand behind its work and continue to service the brewhouse after it’s installed and being used?
“All work done by Tigpro is guaranteed by Tigpro. If we have a client call and there is a quality control issue, troubleshooting issue, fabrication issue we are on it. We are very tentative to our clients and always continue a healthy relationship with our clients. The reason our clients come back to us and enjoy working with us is because we are never out of reach to help. That’s why I always push people to buy local and never order ANY tanks from China. If there is ever a problem they know where to find us.”
Can you tell me what brewers you are currently fabricating brewing equipment for?
“Currently we are fabricating systems and/or single tanks for Bissell Brothers, Geaghan Brothers, Hoof Hearted Brewing (out of Ohio) we landed that late August, Moustache Brewing (Long Island, NY), We just finished up Slumbrew or Somerville Brewing (Somerville, MA) and 7th Settlement (Dover, NH). We have a couple more local favorites in the pipeline including Gneiss Brewing and Funky Bow. 4 of these are repeat business clients. I think that speaks volumes.”
Any cool projects coming up for Tigpro?
“I think the coolest project coming up will be Funky Bows 2-60 BBL fermenter expansion. Those things will be HUGE. Of course Bissell Brothers 40 BBL fermenter that we plan to finish up and deliver by 12/11 just in time for their one year celebration, cant wait, we also just delivered some of Geaghan Brothers brewhouse components and we’re looking forward to wrapping the complete project up by February.” Big Thanks to John Squadrito for educating me about Tigpro. We love to look at the shiny stainless steel and taste the final product but how often do we think about the people who built the tanks and the brewhouse? Probably not often enough. Next time you’re touring a brewery, take a look at the tanks, look for the rectangle badge with the Tigpro label and know you’re looking at a piece of equipment made in Portland, Maine by Maine craftsmen.
“Tigpro fabricated several of our 30 barrel fermenters for us. We love working with other small Maine-based businesses whenever we can.” Heather Sanborn, Director of Business Operations and Owner, Rising Tide Brewing Company
“Our partnership with Tigpro is an exciting one because it accentuates all of the aspects of the craft brewing industry. With Tigpro we are also able to design and build a quality system and have local support in the months and years to come.” Andrew Geaghan, Owner and Co-head brewer, Geaghan Brothers Brewing
“The reason we used them the first time was they are local and just down the road for anything we might need help with, the second time (for the new 60 barrel fermenters) is for the same reasons. They have up graded their staff and always do what they say they will do and more! Stand up folks!” Paul Lorrain, Owner, Funky Bow Beer Company
“During the 2 years that it took to build Bissell Brothers before beer was poured, we obtained quotes from stainless fabrication companies across the country. It was very stressful, because we knew what we could turn Bissell Brothers into, but at the same time we had never used commercial brewing equipment before, so we needed to be able to work with someone that could help our clueless selves out, and not take advantage of us in the process. Tigpro was actually the last company we met with, and it was refreshing immediately to be able to actually go to their facility (located a half a mile from our brewery) and meet Kenny and the staff, as opposed to doing everything on the phone.