The Brewhouse of the Future (Part 2): Packaging
After a recipe is developed, the ingredients are carefully selected, a beer is brewed with care, and fermented properly, it is time for packaging. Brewers put a lot of thought into their packaging, not only design but function, durability, and how it takes care of the beer.
As the world continues to change and a greater focus is put on sustainability, environmental impact and becoming carbon neutral breweries are going to have options and choices when it comes to creating a brewhouse of the future that has smarter packaging.
Criveller has been manufacturing breweries since the 1970s. During this time, Criveller has built a large number of microbreweries and brewpubs throughout America, Europe and around the world.
The brewhouse of the future, which is closer than some might realize, is also going to focus on automation – even on the smaller scale – which will still allow brewers to be hands on but will increase safety.
From hydraulic arms that can move kegs and pallets to reduce injury to packaging lines that fill quickly and efficiently with minimal waste, can pasteurize, and measure dissolved oxygen levels, these bring peace of mind.
But it is the actual packages that consumers will see, and ultimately these can be part of a larger brewery narrative.
When it comes to cans the shortages experienced earlier this year are still on the minds of a lot of brewers, especially those that rely on printed cans for best-sellers and flag ships have been looking for alternatives.
This is important since many of the vinyl labels that brewers use are mucking up the recycling stream, causing fires in the smelting plants where aluminum is recycled. While some brewers are urging their customers to peel labels before tossing cans into blue bins, there is not much indication this is happening on a wider scale.
There have been a number of companies that are printing cans on demand, specifically catering to smaller breweries. The technology is progressing quickly, and brewers would be well served to pay attention to this growing market.
The same is true with vinyl alternative labels. Ones that can be recycled and still stand up to punishing conditions like water, condensation, shipping and storage are also becoming more popular and available.
Cans remain the obvious and popular choice among brewers and companies like The Alchemist and others are switching from plastic snap-on can holders to fiber or cardboard alternatives that are more easily recyclable and can do the intended job with aplomb.
Brewers should use any and all changes to packaging to their public relations advantage. Caring about environmental impacts makes for a better workplace and customers are likely to respond. Regular social media campaigns, talking about sustainability during tours, on the packing itself and in brewery communications drives home a commitment that customers will respond it.
It also shows the companies that are operating in the space, looking to innovate, and make an impact that there are customers looking to go the extra mile.
We, as a species, often look to the future for inspiration, but so much of what is around us now is progress and a path towards a better tomorrow.