Mise En Place In A Brewery
Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
Canadian manufacturers of alcoholic beverages containing 0.5% or more must have a traceability system in place by July 15, 2020. Producers of beer, wine, spirits, kombucha, cider, mead, or ready-to-drink cocktails should care about these new regulations. What do you need to know about traceability? How can you achieve this without disrupting your business? Is traceability only the responsibility of the producer or does it also affect the consumer?
Many larger breweries with automated process controls have the ability to manage and track inventory from start to finish. Ingredients such as malt, hops, and yeast arrive at the brewery and are received by an operator. The resulting batches of beer and other beverages are given unique batch records.
A large company's automated processes mean they have solid procedures and discipline for data collection and record keeping. But there are inherent pitfalls to manual processes that can lead to costly mistakes. Imagine you were forced to do a recall right now. How confident are you could track down all the products affected by a recall?
When do you need to do more?
The average brewery should be recording where they are buying their supplies from, how they are used within the facility, and what customers are using their products. For example, if there is a contamination from a supplier, this will allow the brewery to recall product from customers effectively. Without traceability within the facility, it is nearly impossible to track down defective products.
Figure 1 - Basic Traceability Requirements
These are the most basic requirements for any brewery at the moment with retail or cross border sales. More intensive programs may be required when producing organic certified products, when the space is shared with an industrial kitchen, or when tired ingredients get sold to other manufacturers.
Mise en Place
Recipes for Brewers
Take some time to prepare a master recipe for each brand, this should be revised as any favourable changes are made during production. What can occur, is that errors are pushed forward through production logs, resulting in inventory shortages. This should include all secondary data such as suppliers and lot codes for malt, hops, water salts, yeast, process aids and any other ingredients. This recipes should be designed to reduce work on production days by using amounts that are easy to measure and store. This can be as simple as having spare paper space on brew logs or even as structured as using a third-party software to digitally record all parameters.
One excellent idea is to produce a product profile for sales and management staff as well. It should be a single page that outlines the product type, appearance, aroma, taste, and finish. This lets staff serving the beer to customers be able to match products to customers more easily. It also helps the brewer know what kind of beer they need to be able to make.
When starting out, we want to prepare an easy to use work place. Making sure that the brewery area is clean and sanitary will help make a higher quality product. It's important to have good access to garbage and recycling disposal within the facility as well to remove spent goods as they accumulate. Having clear and clean workplaces also keeps areas organized and reduces clutter in the facility as a whole.
These are the basics for both Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs) and HACCP programs in a brewery environment. The seven areas of GMPs are: personnel/staff, brewery & grounds, operations, sanitary facilities & controls, equipment & utensils, production & process controls, and warehousing & distribution. Each of these areas are critical for having a well maintained and cared for production facility. These are similar to HACCP programs, which are very common in food manufacturing. They rely on similar procedures to outline any chemical, microbial, or physical hazards in order to reduce the risk of introduction into a product.
Just as a cook at home needs to pre-heat the oven, a brewer needs hot water. Ensuring that the brewery equipment is in good working standing prior to running the brew day helps ensure the recipe gets followed with a high degree of accuracy. Cleaning, sanitizing, and pressurizing fermenters prior to filling with every batch will help reduce chances of contamination and help create great tasting beer.
The next steps with equipment is to have a plan for repetitive tasks and small improvements. Reoccurring chores should be divided on frequency, such as each batch or on a weekly or monthly basis. Along with these housekeeping items, a binder of manuals and technicians should be kept in a spot in the production facility. Whenever a new problem occurs, the solution can be recorded on a new sheet to provide guidance with similar issues in the future.
Measuring out all ingredients is a critical step in Mise en Place set-ups. This is where you determine if you have everything necessary to make the beer! Counting and weighing what you need on brew day will prevent you from running around trying to make substitutions or alterations on production day.
Furthermore, properly storing the ingredients prior and after use can greatly help the quality of the beer. It can save money over the long term and reduce spoilage. The general rule for all ingredients is First In First Out and that the oldest ingredients should always be used first. Knowing where the ingredients come from and how they are stored can assist in these goals.
Clean While You Brew
While not everything can be cleaned while the brewhouse is hot, but small sections of the brewery can be cleared and sanitized as the production day moves forward. Using hot water by using short flushes after use will help reduce the water used and removes most of the wort residue.
Using the proper cleaning chemical for the job is incredibly important, always check with your chemical supplier for the intended application. As a general rule, plants and food need a caustic or alkaline based cleaner and mineralization such as beer store or rust need acid based cleaners such as nitric or phosphoric acid.
Action Item: Assign Jobs to Tools
Using specific tools for specific jobs will really help reduce the chances of cross contamination or accidental chemical exposure. A chef will do this by using different knives for different cutting methods. We can do this by separating tools by either application or location in a brewery. When we designate different pieces to different locations in the building, this prevents the wrong cleaning chemicals being used by staff and helps protect the overall quality of the product. We can even take this to the next level by giving certain areas or jobs colours as well.
- Keep it simple. Use as few colours as possible to make it easy to remember.
- Pick contrasting colours. A tool that is completely different than the product is easier to spot.
- Keep tools the same colour. Don't mix and match tools and handles.
- Roll out at the same time and it will reduce training.
- Put up laminated signs next to tool storage as a reminder.
Brewersjournal.ca. 2019. Beer Traceability in Canada, Are You Ready? – Brewers Journal Canada. [online] Available at: https://www.brewersjournal.ca/2019/08/30/beer-traceability-in-canada-are-you-ready/ [Accessed 23 March 2021]
Coplon, A., Henderson, S. and Smith, K., 2020. Rapid Product Development. [online] Youtube.com. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq-XWHa3ErM> [Accessed 23 March 2021].
Remco Products. 2021. Color-Coded Tools in the Food Processing Industry - Your Partners in Hygiene. [online] Available at: https://remcoproducts.com/about/color-coded-tools-in-the-food-processing-industry/ [Accessed 26 October 2021].