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BRLO Brewery in Berlin made from shipping containers

Latest Berlin Micro-Brewery Built from Shipping Containers

Berlin has long been renowned as a global hub for avant garde art and culture. The German capital is currently host to well over 400 gallery spaces and teeming with an estimated 20,000 international artists, all actively pushing the bounds of creativity. They are drawn to the city by a winning combination of affordable rents, easy availability of studio space and legendary Bohemian spirit. But the innovation doesn’t start and finish with the thriving arts scene.

An Original Use for Repurposed Shipping Containers  

In many people’s minds Germany is synonymous with beer and the city certainly doesn’t disappoint, with a host of micro-breweries and craft beers competing for business. There are also hundreds of pubs, modernist bars and traditional bier kellers dotted throughout the city and clustered at its centre. One of the latest creative projects combines beer with Berlin’s passion for upcycling and reusing items we often throw away; in this case, fabricated steel shipping containers.

Welcome to the BRLO Brwhouse

BRLO Brewery in Berlin made from shipping containersThe ‘BRLO Brwhouse’, located in Berlin’s post-industrial, Gleisdreieck district, was constructed using no less than 38 decommissioned shipping containers, to create a truly one-of-a kind, 600-square-metre venue, where a micro-brewery nestles beside a popular beer garden. The buildings were designed by locally-based Graft Architects, who made little attempt to disguise their transport heritage. ‘Container-chic’ is all the rage in creative cities like Berlin, London, New York and Vancouver. Many people love their industrial lines and utilitarian feel, which echoes the Brutalist architecture that flourished in the second half of the 20th century.

Four containers long by three containers high, there is plenty of room for the bulky brewery equipment and lots of useful additional space to hold special events, meetings and the contemporary art exhibitions that Berlin is famed for.

When No Longer Needed it Can Simply be Dismantled and Moved

The beauty of steel shipping containers, aslo known as Conex boxes, is that they are portable and were originally designed to be stacked on the decks of ships and hauled using trucks and locomotives. BRLO Brwhouse was designed by Graft to have a lifespan of 3-5 years, after which time the 38 individual modules can easily be separated and moved to a new location or individually re-sold, thanks to a thriving market in decommissioned boxes.

Fast Installation Meant BRLO was up and running far quicker than it would have taken to prepare and build a conventional brewery and bar. The beer garden opened initially and the micro-brewery operation and a restaurant followed just a few months later.

BRLO Brwhouse at night

A Passion for Pop-ups

‘Pop-ups’ of this kind are increasingly to be found in countless cities and towns around the world and are particularly favored as bars, cafés and trendy retail outlets, often run as start-up companies by budding entrepreneurs. Although not always as cheap an option as you might assume, due to the engineering demands, shipping container businesses still possess a head-turning, cool vibe, despite being increasingly popular. The steel boxes are effectively blank canvases that architects and interior designers can’t wait to get their hands on. Their flexibility means their myriad uses are limited only by the imagination. They can be clad in timber or plastic, fitted with glass walls or painted in eye-catching colours.