IBD Master Brewer Module 5 project: The construction and implementation of a packaging quality laboratory for a large craft

Packaging (Bottles, Draft, Cans) Session
Gregory S Deuhs, Craft Brewers Alliance

ABSTRACT: The construction and implementation of a packaging quality laboratory for a large craft brewery. The Redhook Ale Brewery located in Woodinville, WA, is a large craft brewer producing 175,000 bbl of beer per year. The brewery is part of a larger corporation, Craft Brewers Alliance, which operates four breweries within the United States. The brewery does not have a formal packaging quality program or the dedicated laboratory and equipment to conduct meaningful packaging quality analysis. The current packaging quality program consists of a Zahm & Nagel caustic-based, bottle headspace analyzer, a bottle cap crimp gauge, and a scale to determine fill heights. This project encompasses the design, construction, equipment, and staff support to successfully support packaging operations for bottle and draught product. This project also incorporates quality check procedures used elsewhere in the company and the training of two new laboratory technicians dedicated to packaging quality. The end project result is a fully functional laboratory that checks headspace dissolved oxygen, bottle quality, cap, code dates, secondary packaging quality, extensive bottle defect detection, draught beer quality, and micro integrity. The craft beer industry in the United States is a very competitive market. Gone are the days of placing a six pack of beer on the shelf and having it sell itself because it is different from the mainstream American beers. Craft beer today must meet or exceed the customer’s expectations, compete favorably with competitors’ beers, and match industry standards. A recall of beer for any reason is extremely costly in both reputation and lost sales.

Gregory Deuhs received an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI. He is a graduate of the UC-Davis Master Brewer and of the Villanova University Six Sigma Black Belt Certification programs. Greg started his brewing career as the head brewer at the James Page Brewing Company in Minneapolis, MN. From there, he served the industry as an assistant brewmaster at The Stroh Brewery Company, brewing team leader at the Miller Brewing Company, and director of operations at the Craft Brew Alliance. His current role is brewmaster for Pabst Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI. Greg is a diploma member of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) and conducted this project in conjunction with the IBD Master Brewer Examination Module 5 requirement.