by Matt Lee of Innovative Building Materials
Breweries can be a very dangerous places if one isn’t careful. Between broken glass and all the chemicals that are part of the brewing process, one must be careful in order to promote the safety of workers and customers alike.
Here are 8 tips to keep in mind to avoid any injuries, accidents, or lawsuits.
1. Protection from Glass
Many breweries use glass bottles to store their beer. With the presence of glass comes the possibility of broken pieces of glass. Make sure to keep your brewery floor clean and free of glass. Use a separate broom to clean up glass from the one you use for other cleanup duties around the brewery.
2. Chemicals Need to be Separated
Using chemicals to make sure your kegs, tanks, and beer are sanitary and safe is brewery 101. But the chemicals themselves need to be separated to avoid contamination. One way to approach this would be to color code chemicals.
One color for sanitizing chemicals and another for the caustic and acid chemicals you use for the kegs and tanks. Caustic is used in order to maintain the beer’s flavor. If your beer is tasting buttery then you know you haven’t done enough caustic cleaning, and probably need to up the amount you do. It is recommended you do a caustic cleaning every 2-3 weeks.
Acid cleaning you can do less of, it is recommended you do about one every 3-4 months. Using acid to clean your tanks gets rid of the beerstone. Beerstone and calcium buildups will hold on to beer from the previous brewing, and will leave your new beer tasting like the old.
Make sure you don’t mix up your chemicals in order to keep your customers safe and your beer tasting good.
3. Do Not Use Unsealed Concrete Flooring
Breweries are messy places, and with that in mind, brewery flooring has to be able to keep up with mess. Sealed concrete means there won’t be any holes in the floor. Holes in the floor can lead to beer or other liquids getting underneath, which can cause bacteria and mold to grow. If unsealed concrete is used for brewery flooring heavy loads and foot traffic could also damage it, meaning you would shortly have to buy new flooring to replace the damaged floors.
4. Keep the Dirtiest Part of Your Brewery Clean
The dirtiest place in a brewery is the brewery floor drains. Many liquids go down that drain everyday, and your employees go by it everyday. If you don’t have the proper floor drains, you could face bacteria build up, and no one wants a large amount of bacteria in their breweries. Invest in a proper drainage system that prevents build up. It needs to be long enough and big enough to keep any bacteria away. A sanitary drainage system equals a sanitary brewery!
5. Keep Your Hose Clean
Rubber hoses can be the dream home for all sorts of bacteria if they’re not cleaned properly. Make sure all fittings are securely fastened, and check for any holes or cracks that could invite moisture right in, as bacteria loves moisture. It is very important to all hoses up to par.
6. Check That All Sanitary and Cleaning Supplies Have Correct Labels
Mixing up your sanitation supplies and the supplies you use that come in contact with your product can lead to a health disaster, so make sure things are properly labeled to avoid any confusion. This is one of the easiest safety tips to abide by, don’t let this simple step cause issues for your brewery.
7. Clean Your Cooling Unit Coils
Your cooling unit coils might not be something you think about routinely, but they’re important for energy saving (aka money saving) and prevention of bacteria growth. Clean coils don’t have to work as hard to keep air moving, which means they use less energy, which saves you money. Since they move air around, any bacteria growing inside them can move into the air and contaminate your brewery’s walls, racking, and ultimately your product. Avoid contamination with the proper cleaning.
8. Reevaluate Your Cleaning Methods Every 6 Months
Not everyone’s perfect. Things can always be changed or improved, so take time to reevaluate your methods. What are customers saying? What have they said about the taste of the beer? Has it been positive or negative? If people aren’t pleased with the taste of the beer you should check and see if it is because of your cleaning methods.
Cleaning up is half the work in a brewer’s world, and there’s a lot of different things that have to be cleaned. As long as you keep a mental list of everything and keep a cleaning schedule and routine, you should be able to avoid any sort of problem. This way you can just focus on what you love: making beer and serving consumers.