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Good Manufacturing Practices for Breweries: Ensuring Quality and Safety

Good Manufacturing Practices for Breweries: Ensuring Quality and Safety

In the craft beer industry, maintaining high standards of quality and safety is paramount. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are a cornerstone of producing consistently excellent beer while ensuring the health and safety of both workers and consumers. This blog post explores essential GMPs for breweries, detailing how they can be effectively implemented to uphold product integrity and comply with regulatory standards.

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this document is to outline the minimum Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements for all manufacturing facilities. These guidelines ensure that all aspects of the brewing process meet the necessary standards for hygiene, safety, and quality control.


Facility Management

The facility management is responsible for implementing all GMP requirements. This includes ensuring that all employees are trained in these practices and that regular self-inspections are conducted to maintain compliance.

Quality Assurance Team

The quality assurance team is responsible for conducting third-party audits annually and additional internal audits as necessary. These audits help ensure that the brewery’s self-inspections are effective and that any corrective actions are properly implemented.

Key Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)

Personnel Hygiene and Health

Disease Control

Employees must report any illness or open wounds to their supervisors. Anyone showing signs of illness or infection that could contaminate food or packaging materials should be excluded from operations until their condition is resolved.


All personnel must adhere to strict hygiene practices, including:

  • Wearing suitable outer garments.
  • Maintaining personal cleanliness.
  • Washing hands thoroughly and using sanitizers when necessary.
  • Removing exposed jewelry.
  • Using hair restraints like hair nets or beard covers where appropriate.
  • Storing personal belongings away from manufacturing areas.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking only in designated areas.

Brewery and Grounds Maintenance


The brewery grounds must be maintained to prevent contamination. This includes proper storage of equipment, removal of waste, and maintenance of roads and parking lots. Adequate drainage systems should be in place to avoid contamination from seepage or standing water.

Building Design and Construction

Buildings should be designed to facilitate cleaning and maintenance. This includes:

  • Providing adequate space for equipment and materials.
  • Ensuring floors, walls, and ceilings are cleanable and in good repair.
  • Providing adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Using pest control measures to prevent contamination.

Sanitary Operations

General Maintenance

All physical facilities must be maintained in a sanitary condition. This includes regular cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils to prevent food contamination.

Chemical Storage and Pest Control

Only approved cleaning and sanitizing agents should be used. These must be stored properly to avoid contamination. A robust pest control program should be in place, including regular monitoring and appropriate use of pesticides.

Sanitary Facilities and Controls

Water Supply

A sufficient and safe water supply is essential for all brewery operations. Regular testing should ensure that water quality meets safety standards.

Plumbing and Sewage Disposal

Plumbing systems must be designed to prevent contamination, with adequate drainage and backflow prevention. Sewage disposal should be through an adequate sewerage system.

Hand-Washing and Toilet Facilities

Adequate hand-washing facilities must be provided, including running water, sanitizers, and sanitary drying devices. Readily accessible toilet facilities must be maintained in a sanitary condition.

Equipment and Utensils

All equipment and utensils should be designed for easy cleaning and maintenance. Food-contact surfaces must be made from non-toxic, corrosion-resistant materials. Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure the equipment remains in good condition.

Production and Process Controls

Raw Materials

Raw materials should be inspected upon receipt to ensure they are clean and free from contamination. They must be stored under conditions that prevent contamination and deterioration.

Manufacturing Operations

The brewing process must be carefully controlled to prevent contamination. This includes monitoring time, temperature, pH, and other critical factors. Regular testing should be conducted to identify any potential contamination.

Warehousing and Distribution

Finished products must be stored and transported under conditions that prevent deterioration. Proper warehousing practices help maintain the quality and safety of the beer until it reaches consumers.

First Steps

Employee Hand Washing
  • Install Hand Washing Stations: Ensure ample stainless steel sinks are available in all key areas, especially near entrances, restrooms, and break areas.
  • Signage and Training: Put up clear signage reminding employees to wash their hands and provide regular training sessions on the importance of hand hygiene.
Employees Consuming Food & Beverage in Production Areas
  • Designated Break Areas: Create comfortable, designated break areas away from production zones where employees can eat and drink.
  • Clear Policies: Establish and enforce a strict policy prohibiting food and beverage consumption in production areas.
Employees Carrying Phones, Keys, and Earbuds into Production Areas
  • Provide Lockers: Install lockers near entry points for employees to store personal items such as phones, keys, and earbuds.
  • Uniforms Without Pockets: Provide uniforms without pockets to reduce the risk of foreign object contamination. Tools and items should be stored in pockets under the waist to avoid them from falling into production areas.
Wooden Utensils
  • Switch to FDA-Approved Utensils: Replace wooden mash paddles with FDA-approved alternatives to prevent contamination from splinters or harmful laminates.
  • Educate Staff: Share resources, such as blog posts, about the risks associated with wooden utensils and the benefits of approved alternatives.
Spent Grain Removal
  • Proper Labeling: Clearly label containers for spent grains to avoid mixing them with trash and ensure they are properly identified.
  • Follow Regulations: Familiarize yourself with FDA regulations on spent grain removal and ensure compliance to avoid risks and contamination.
Hair / Beard Covers / Restraints
  • Use of Hair and Beard Nets: At minimum, all hair should be tied back and away from production for safety. Provide the use of hair nets and beard nets for all employees working in production areas.
  • Supply Adequate PPE: Ensure there is a sufficient supply of hair and beard covers available at all times.


Implementing Good Manufacturing Practices in breweries is crucial for producing high-quality beer while ensuring safety and compliance with regulatory standards. By adhering to these guidelines, breweries can protect their products, employees, and consumers, fostering a reputation for excellence in the industry. Regular training, inspections, and audits are key to maintaining these standards and continually improving brewing operations.

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