Friday, February 7, 2014

Expansion Update 1: Hello New Kosme Bottling Line!

As some of you may have noticed, we announced (somewhat secretly) that The Bruery is expanding during 2014! Quality is a huge priority for us, and we are thrilled to be introducing some new (and pretty big) measures to make sure we are producing beer that excites us and and is exemplary of the highest quality.

An illustration of our brand new Kosme bottling line, which is on its way to us this year.

There are a couple phases of growth and equipment additions we're working on this year. One of the first items we're adding to our company is a brand new bottling line. Expected to arrive in July this year is a 16-head Kosme line from Krones, arguably the highest quality manufacturer of beer bottling lines in the world. The addition of this line to our production means we can look forward to several improvements once everything is up and running.

Our packaging team working on our curent Meheen bottler

First, since oxygen is an enemy to finished beer, the level of oxygen dissolved in the finished liquid itself should be very low in any brewery. With use of this bottling line at The Bruery, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels of beer filled on this new line will be significantly lower than before! This translates to a much lower level of beer oxidation which can affect the taste, appearance, and color of finished beer.

Second, consistent fill heights on bottles means we'll have less loss and significantly reduced waste. Each bottling run yields a number of low or incorrect fills that will never see a store shelf. This happens in any packaging line, but a lower yield of wasted beer and bottles is always desired.

What might be the most exciting improvement with the new line is the total separation of sour beer packaging and clean beer packaging. As we've addressed before, making both sour and clean beer under the same roof comes with many challenges and significant risks. By totally isolating the sour beer from the clean beer, unwanted infection and contamination issues will no longer be a nightmare that steals precious hours of Patrick's beauty rest.

And finally, this baby is a bit over five times faster than our current bottling line. As you've probably seen on our blog or during a tour, we have two Meheens at The Bruery -- one for bottling only sours, one for bottling only clean beer. These fill and cap four bottles at a time, which was such a great upgrade from the days of our youth where we filled and capped each beer by hand. With our growth over the past five years, along with our continued development of sour and funky beers, this step towards improved quality and efficiency is very exciting for us.

The same model bottling line we'll be putting in this year, as seen at Sierra Nevada.

Another shot of Sierra Nevada's Kosme bottling line by Krones.

Our current Meheens will be moving to another location where they'll dutifully fill bottles with sour and brett beer. Our brewery (where the beer is actually made) and Tasting Room are housed in one of The Bruery's four facilities. We have two nearby warehouses for storage, shipping, and clean barrel aging, and another facility a few miles down the road for our administrative offices and many, many, many barrels.

Anticipated construction on the new bottling line area will begin in April of this year, with an expected arrival of the equipment itself in July. This means we could have it online as soon as September if everything stays completely on schedule. But we all know how construction can go ...

We'll leave you with this video showing an example of one Kosme line in action. Cheers!

Update (6/20/14): we just received this video of a test run with our bottles on our new line. It's not installed just yet, but take a look at our line in action. 

Read more blogs about our ongoing expansion plans for 2014

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