A small brewing plant for product development whose initial cost could be reduced dramatically by using recycled equipment

Engineering Session
Atsushi Suzuki, Orion Breweries, Ltd. 2-2-1 Agarie, Nago-city, Okinawa, Japan

ABSTRACT: A “small brewing plant” for product development, which could dramatically reduce the initial cost, was created. The cost saving was mostly achieved by utilizing recycled products for most the equipment. Although the estimated cost of the 200 L-scale plant we originally planned to install was 250 million yen, we succeeded in reducing the total cost by 99% by downsizing the volume by 90%, using recycled products, and assembling them on their own. Furthermore, the smaller plant enabled us to produce five times as much product at once than the previous plant. The chemical compositions of wort, immature beer, and filtered beer produced in this small plant according to the common brewing recipe were almost identical to those made in our main brewery. Furthermore, none of 10 inspectors could distinguish the brews produced in the small plant from those in the preceding ones. Six kinds of products developed using this small plant have been launched, and all of them are produced appropriately and have sold well. This report provides information to brewers who may be planning to purchase a low-cost small plant for product development. One example of the component of the small plant is obsolescent stainless kegs, which are reused as fermentation tanks. The stainless kegs satisfy almost all the primary requirements for fermentation tanks: 1) high sealing performance, 2) baro tolerance, 3) autoclavability, 4) ease of putting in and taking out liquids while maintaining sterility, and 5) ease of increasing the number of tanks.

Atsushi Suzuki received a master’s degree in science from Ryukyu University in Okinawa, Japan. He began employment with Orion Breweries in 2004 as a manufacturer in the Product Development section. Since 2007, he has functioned as manager of new product development.