Hygiene in Craft Brewing

As we all know craft brewing is booming. According to research carried out by law firm RPC, there were 2,372 new trademarks registered in the UK for beer brands in 2017, a rise of 20% on the previous year and a record high.

The rising consumer demand for limited edition and small batch beers such as seasonal specials means that craft breweries are dealing with a variety of flavours and ingredients all in the one, often, small processing unit. Every brewery’s beer is unique and the brewer works hard to create the brand’s own signature taste.

It is therefore essential to maintain consistency in taste and protect reputation by ensuring that hygiene standards are second to none. Although the selection of malt, hops, yeast and added flavours are essential for a great taste, equally important is a flawless production process.

For any drink production process to be consistently impeccable, effective hygiene and disinfection systems need to be in place and constantly monitored. The smallest mistake in hygiene procedures can lead to bad taste, smell or acidification.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about brewing is that an entire batch of beer can go bad due to microbial contamination. Whilst microbiology is inherent to the brewing process and controlled microbial activities are beneficial, others pose a threat to the quality, flavour and safety of your product.

Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, for instance, can give your beer an unwanted acidic or ‘buttery’ flavour. And wild yeast contamination can turn your beer cloudy, or even make it taste like rotten egg. The extensive use of hops and sugars can lead to the formation of biofilms that can induce contamination with bad microbial strains.

Consequently, implementing proper hygiene procedures at every stage of your brewing process is crucial to prevent unwanted microbial growth and to safeguard the quality and safety of your end product.

The riskiest steps in the brewing process in terms of contamination come after the boiling stage. In bigger breweries both the production and the cleaning and disinfection process take place almost completely in a closed circuit, to prevent risks of infection. For smaller craft breweries, this is not always possible.

There is however a lot that can be done to minimize the risks, starting with a strict cleaning regime. Cleaning and disinfection procedures for craft breweries should follow a system that incorporates daily, monthly and yearly cleaning programmes that utilize the right chemicals for cleaning, descaling and disinfecting.

On a daily basis, after every production brewing installations should be rinsed with fresh water, cleaned with an alkaline detergent and rinsed again before being disinfected with peracetic acid. Followed by a final rinse.

Once a month pre-rinse all installations with fresh water and clean with an alkaline detergent and rinse off. Descale with acid detergent to remove beerstone and follow with a rinse. Disinfect with peracetic acid and carry out a final rinse.

Finally, on an annual basis, after the usual cleaning and disinfection cycle, deep clean the installations to prevent the formation of biofilms using a product such as Mida Flow 142 Cl.

For advice and more detailed cleaning and disinfection procedures per production zone, including specific product information, timings and dosages, just get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to help.


Note to editors:
Every manufacturing operation has criteria it must satisfy but nowhere is this more critical than in the food, dairy and drinks industries. Christeyns Food Hygiene provide expertly designed products and services that ensure compliance with procedures, legislation and industry codes of practice.
The company is based in Warrington, Cheshire and employs 66 staff. It is part of the Christeyns UK group of companies whose headquarters are in Bradford, West Yorkshire.