Packaging is not just packaging! It plays an important role in attracting consumers and raising your business. Packaging is the most important process in the beer production which contributes up to two-thirds of the cost of the whole process. While packaging, beer should be prevented from contamination from stray yeast and exposure to oxygen as it reduces the shelf life. Many startups to medium sized brewers used the manual filling for beer packing, while automated packaging lines are also used in large breweries.Lets see the actual scenario of Beer Packaging Process.
Beer can be packed in bottles, cans or kegs; each has its own pros & cons. Bottled or canned beer have more than 80% of the market and affords the largest access to customers. Let’s get into details of bottling, canning, and kegging of beer.
Bottling Of Beer
Glass bottles are very common in beer packaging. It is a natural, hygienic and traditional material used for making beer bottles. In bottling following steps are involved:
- Depalletising – In this, empty bottles are removed from pallets.
- Bottle washing – Bottles are rinsed with filtered water to remove impurities and cleared of labels. Sometimes carbon dioxide injected into bottles to reduce oxygen level. Empty Bottle Inspector (EBC) used to check the bottles for good washing otherwise rejects it.
- Filling & capping – washed bottles are then sent to filling machine which fills the bottles with beer. A few inert gases can be injected on the top to disperse the oxygen. Full Bottle Inspector (FBI) check bottles for underfilling or overfilling. Capper applies bottle caps and sealed the bottles.
- Pasteurization – Filled bottles are then pasteurized at 1400F for 2-3 minutes. This helps to stops the growth of yeast that remains in the beer after packaging.
- Labeling – After pasteurization labels are applied. It should include the batch number, lot number, date & time of bottling, expiry dates etc.
- Box packing – Bottles are then packed into boxes and sent to the warehouse and ready for sale.
Beer in bottles is more popular but this method has some disadvantages also. It includes the weight of the glass, its cost in addition to difficulty in transportation.
Canning Of Beer
Cans are innovative, smart, easy to use option and less expensive than glass bottles. Generally, aluminum cans are used. Cans are first washed with pure water and then carbon dioxide is injected into empty cans. Then they are filled with beer. After filling, lids are placed on the top and it moved to seamer. After seaming, cans are moved to exterior rinsing and packed in the pack of six for sale. Cans are less resistant to strikes and dents. They require less space and easy for transportation also.
Kegging Of Beer
Kegging is not used commonly in the B2C market. But it is mostly used method for the B2B marketing. It requires sanitizing, filling, capping one keg only instead of dozens of bottles, therefore, it is faster than bottling and canning. It is cheaper also. A keg is made of stainless steel and its top & bottom are usually made of rubber. Keg must have opened at the top.
Kegs are firstly washed with water for removing impurities. Then they are sanitized with sanitizing solutions. Then kegs are filled with beer and sealed with the lid. With the help of pressure relief valve oxygen is released and carbonation started. Carbonation time vary according to beer style. After carbonation kegs are ready for sale.
Beer Packaging Process Video