A Brewery Pub With Great Accoustics

Thoughtful acoustic design = enjoyable pint!

Ashley Gibson Power Sector Leader - Canada
Ashley Gibson

Ashley has 25 years of project experience encompassing product design, engineering management, technical consulting and collaborative research within industry. His mechanical engineering background led to him to specialise in the measurement, modelling, assessment and control of noise, vibration and air emissions. His experience includes environmental assessment and engineering design of electricity generation and transmission infrastructure, including the management of research and development activities with power sector application. He was awarded his MBA in 2018.

Why some microbreweries get it right and others miss the mark.

I am very fortunate to be married to a wonderful wife who puts up with my penchant for seeking out craft breweries whenever we go on vacation. Her only rule is there must be one beverage other than beer available, as she’s not a beer lover like me. No problem I say! 

The other week we were touring around the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario (the fall colours were spectacular) and while in the area, we “stumbled” across a few micro-breweries. For those who have visited a few of these establishments in recent times, you’ll appreciate that many are housed in open-concept steel-framed buildings where the brewing equipment is co-located with the entertainment space. This is typically done for a variety of reasons; for example, to achieve the desired ambience, save cost and reduce GHG emissions (i.e., beer brewed is consumed on site, no transportation required). However, the acoustic design aspect of these spaces is often forgotten. All the hard, flat surfaces are very reflective acoustically and this leads to a build-up of excessive reverberant noise, which in a social gathering space, leads to speech interference problems. Have you ever had to shout across the table to your partner when dining out because of all the background noise?

While visiting one establishment recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see some acoustic design elements subtly incorporated into the design. (My engineering brain never shuts down, even when I’m enjoying a beer and meal with my wife.) Looking over her shoulder I was distracted by two stand-out building acoustic features – the half-barrels mounted along one wall and the “hidden” acoustic baffles hung from the ceiling. I found myself thinking we can hear each other clearly. This was in contrast to another microbrewery we visited that did not have these types of features installed, which prompted us to comment at the time, “geez, it’s noisy in here” (and coincidentally we stayed for only one drink!). So, I raise my pint glass to the folks around the world who do it right, for making your venues an acoustically enjoyable place to be, where your great beer can truly be appreciated without the distraction of unwanted noise.

Need help with your room acoustics – be it for a microbrewery, restaurant, office, underground train station, airport, police station or other application? The acoustics, noise and vibration team at SLR is one of the largest in the world. We have the capability and experience to make your project a “sound” place to be.

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