Brewers are fighting a battle on two fronts: produce a high-quality, consistent beer to meet customer demand, while also improving yield and running a profitable brewery. These competing pressures are driving brewers to look meticulously at all phases of operations.
After completing process efficiency projects for nationally recognized brewing giants, we’ve seen how many opportunities there are for optimizing processes. They range from grain handling to the brewhouse through fermentation, filtering, finishing to packaging.
In our experience, the top concerns among the big brewers we work with generally fall into similar categories. The projects we have worked on address these common issues:
- Obsolete control systems
- Automating clean in place (CIP) processes
- Adding the ability to run additional specialty beer recipes
- Access to real-time data on brewing processes and implementing IoT technology
- Reducing production downtime
- Increasing production capacity
- Energy cost
- Water consumption and wastewater disposal
- Quality control problems
- Genealogy tracing/tracking
- Meeting regulation requirements – safety concerns and site-specific regulations
Typically, a big brewery is 70-80% automated all the way up to 95%. We work with our smaller brewery customers to evaluate if it makes sense in terms of ROI, quality and efficiency of operations to take that next step in automating remaining manual processes.
We find the brewery’s clean in place (CIP) process is often the low-hanging fruit where semi-automatic to manual processes are still in place creating production risk. The more manual it is, the more prone it is to delays and other quality control issues.
In addition, there are safety concerns with operators being exposed to dangerous CO2 gasses. An automated venting system allows for dangerous gasses to escape through pipes and hoses through the ceiling as opposed to into the atmosphere of the brewery. Automating the cleaning of the lines will increase the speed and safety of CIPs, allowing for more time for processing beer and ensuring consistent quality.
We have completed many projects to help breweries with production optimization. If you are interested in identifying potential low hanging fruit in your brewery facility, we are here to help.