Last month, we received our newest piece of equipment, a beautiful 40 BBL fermenter from American Beer Equipment! Nicknamed Uncle Phil, this big guy alone ups our production capacity by 50%! It’s a huge step for our brewery, but what I am most excited about is how this changes our production plans–in a very good way.
I’ll get to the farther-reaching implications in a bit. This tank is big–twice as big as our other tanks. This also means it was a lot trickier to install. Our team, along with some help from the guys at Black Hoof Brewing who happened to be visiting, managed to figure it out, but it wasn’t easy! Our new forklift was very helpful here.
The tank is safely in place now and we’ll be installing glycol next week, and hopefully using it very soon. The same day, our canning line from Wild Goose arrived! We purchased a WGC-50, a two-head semi-automated canning line. We plan on canning 3-10 BBLs of beer per week. This is not enough beer to use a mobile-canning service, and a bigger canning line is much more expensive and would be overkill for such a modest goal. In addition, this line does not have a lot of moving parts, so the resale value is pretty good if we ever did want to upgrade.
Along with the canning line, we have a bunch of shrink-sleeve 16 oz cans in production. The labels were designed by our sales rep/graphic designer, Dylan. They look pretty slick! We plan on selling most of the cans on-premise, but we will have cans at a few places–some local bottle shops and Sterling Wegmans!
Having a legit canner is going to make us so much happier than we were canning before. Previously, we had purchased an MK-16 from Oktober. This little can seamer was an inexpensive way to test out cans, but it was insanely labor-intensive and we had quite a few issues with leaking cans. This will be much better for us and our customers.
I am very happy that we can up production, but this equipment means more than just more volume. Our tank configuration is three 20 BBL fermenters, two 10 BBL fermenters, a 4 BBL fermenter, a 20 BBL brite, and a 10 BBL brite. This has been very good for allowing us to rotate beers a lot. However, we’ve discovered a few of our beers have become quite popular and need to be brewed all the time. Originally, Heart and Soul, our core IPA, was going to be our only year-round beer. Now, we are adding Raspberry Empress sour IPA and Cruise Control pilsner to that list. We’ll alternate between using the big tank for Heart and Soul and Empress, and make one of our 20 BBLs a dedicated tank for Cruise Control.
The other benefit of the new tank is that it frees up the rest of the production schedule immensely. Now, we brew pretty much whatever we want in the other tanks. With four other tanks free to make anything, expect our taplist to get really, really solid.
Here’s an ideal taplist (for me, at least):
Cruise Control NZ pils
Heart and Soul IPA
Raspberry Empress sour IPA
Seek Truth Belgian tripel
Verdant Force DIPA
Best Days hefeweizen
Vibes popsicle Berliner
Peach Habanero Storm IPA
Realize Truth rum barrel-aged quad
Sin Nombre imperial stout
Wouldn’t that be cool? Also, if you’re interested in our beer for distribution, this means that there are now some core beers from us that are proven fast-sellers. Coming up next: our new line of 375 ml bottles of sours!