One of the major challenges facing brewers is how to ensure consistency of product throughout the year, as well as how to package the product to ensure the consumer can enjoy it in its best possible state. By embracing technology and instrumentation there are ways to make this less of an an issue that you might think.
The main area for implementation of new instrumentation is the packaging step, this is a point of brewing where unwanted microbes can be introduced, by using an instrument to prevent the beer coming into contact with the un-sterilised environment the brewers can ensure the product is in the best condition for the consumer. There are various options of instrument for this part of the process be it bottle filling lines, canning machines, keg filling and cleaning machines or labeling machines, this is a stage where machines can make it much easier for the brewer than previously. As such I got in touch with VIGO Ltd who are an instrument supply company that have recently worked with the likes of Wild Beer Co, Thornbridge and Beavertown to assist them with the installation of bottling and canning lines.
What are the major challenges faced by new brewers and existing breweries?
Making consistently good beer is one of the challenges breweries face. This can be helped by having the right equipment and expertise. For new breweries in the early stages of business, converting beer into sales is a challenge. As time goes by and as the brand becomes strong, it can become a major challenge for these breweries to make enough beer to supply demand. Another challenge for new breweries is selecting equipment which is future-proof, in terms of allowing for expansion, without over committing financially. There is a balance.
How does an equipment and instrumentation company keep up with changing demands of the industry? e.g. rise of canning among craft brewers.
We have to listen to the industry to understand what our customers want both now and in the future. We also use our relationships with equipment manufacturers to keep abreast of latest technical developments. With canning, several breweries suggested an interest and we used our contacts to be able to supply canning systems from a manufacturer well-respected amongst craft brewers in the States - American Beer Equipment.
How important are good relationships with the brewers?
Good relationships with brewers are vital. We work very closely with brewers to keep up with market developments and to enable us to help them develop their businesses. As word of mouth makes up a significant part of the business we receive from breweries, our reputation is critical.
What innovation do you see coming into the industry over the next 5 years?
Craft brewers are constantly pushing boundaries, in terms of flavour and packaging. It is quite possible that cans will become as mainstream as bottles, and that more beer will be sold in kegs. There are also some other potentially exciting developments in packaging of beer which could be mainstream in the next few years.