Craft beer is very popular these days, but as we journey into a brand new year, 2015 could be challenging for brewers, both big and small. Industry reports coming out about the quality of the latest harvest of barley malt is not exactly glowing. Late rains prior to harvest created higher protein and beta glucan levels in the malt. This can create difficulties for the brewer in mashing, boiling, fermenting and packaging, not to mention shelf life issues with the finished product.
Pricing and supply issues of other ingredients used in brewing will continue this year, too. There are now over 3,000 breweries in the U.S. and many more are on the way. This ever-increasing number of breweries all vying for hops will continue to drive up prices and create shortages, especially for the popular types of hops used in IPA (India Pale Ale) for example.
That is the bad news. But what is the good news?
Many of the problems with the malt crop have happened before and brewers can use different brewing methods and process aids to minimize many of the problems associated with higher protein levels in malt. Some craft breweries are expanding into new facilities with brand new equipment that is much more efficient and will not have to use as much malt and hops per barrel of beer produced to make the same exact beer that was made with the smaller, less efficient brewery equipment. This increased efficiency takes less human labor, which will help the brewery’s bottom line as well.
Regardless of the size of the brewery, Birko has a full line of brewery cleaning, sanitizing and process aids that will further enhance the flavor of the beer and the brewery’s bottom line. Birko’s Antifoam 100™ and Patco 376, for example, will assist in lowering the amount of foam created in boiling and fermenting, especially as the malt crop ages during the year.
So, don’t get frustrated. Call us—we can help!