The art of packaging requires a great deal of attention to detail regardless of the industry, but packaging for a brewery calls for especially close care. Beer packaging machinery must prevent contamination from stray yeast and oxygen exposure. Either of the two contaminants reduce the beer’s shelf life and diminish customer experience. This is especially vital in craft breweries, where each bottle represents a personal relationship with the customer.
The Automated Packaging Line
Many start up breweries begin by manually filling cans and bottles, but this is not a sustainable practice. A fully operational and professional brewing facility needs an automated packaging line to meet growing demand. The right packaging machinery can save expenses, provide greater control, and maximize efficiency.
The Direct-Line or Tandem Processing Option
Many growing craft brewers find direct line bottling to be the perfect fit because it’s a lower volume system at 8 to 30 units per minute. With a direct line system, the operator rinses, fills, caps, labels, and post-rinses the bottles in one line.
The Rotary Filler Option
Rotary fillers are high speed bottle machines that can fill anywhere between 20 and 1,000 bottles per minute! The carousel equipment can handle between 8 and 100 valves simultaneously. This is a great middle ground between the direct line and the monoblock.
The Monoblock Option
Monoblock systems are an incredible investment because they are complete units that include the bottle and can rinsers, fillers, and cappers. With the right operator, a monoblock system can maximize procedure while minimizing waste. However, given the cost and complexity of monoblock machinery, it’s typically utilized by larger breweries with the requisite resources and product demand.
Extra bottle air is the nemesis of brewery packaging, but fortunately there are a few add-ons that work efficiently to battle that evil. Pre-purging machines, for example, reduce bottle air in old vent tube fillers. Nitrogen drip systems, on the other hand, inject a carefully measured amount of liquid nitrogen into the bottle immediately before the filler to force air out of the can or bottle.
A careful consideration of resources, demand, and space will determine which packaging system is best for your brewery.