The beer market is valued at $114.2 billion, and there were more than 7,000 breweries operating in the United States in 2018, according to the Brewers Association. Each of these breweries carefully crafts their beers, starting with the raw ingredients and finishing with the branded bottling. Throughout this process, brewers need to pay careful attention to the temperature of the environment to ensure their beer captures the intended flavor and maintains that quality all the way until the end consumer takes that first sip.
Learn about the vast brewing industry, the process of making beer, and how temperature matters.
Not all breweries are the same. Some offer only small batches of craft beer onsite, while others are large regional hubs that ship their beers to multiple different retail locations.
- Microbreweries, as the name suggests, produce small batches of beer–typically 15,000 barrels or less per year, according to the Brewers Association. Microbreweries tend to sell the majority of their beer off-site.
- Brewpub and taprooms. Brewpubs and taprooms both sell at least a quarter of the beer they produce onsite, according to the Brewers Association. Brewpubs offer food alongside their beer, while taprooms focus mainly on libations. These types of breweries often sell their products to-go as well.
- Regional breweries. Regional breweries are large hubs that can produce millions of barrels per year, according to the Brewers Association. Regional breweries will ship their beer through multiple distribution channels.
The Brewing Process
Brewing beer is a multi-step process that takes time and precision. Here are the basic steps:
- Milling and mashing. Grain is the base ingredient of any type of beer. Brewers begin the process of making beer by milling, or crushing, the grain. Then, grain is set in hot, but not boiling, water, according to Beeriety.
- The product of these processes, called wort, is then boiled as the brewer adds other ingredients, such as hops.
- As the brew cools, brewers will separate out any remaining particles to prepare the liquid for the next step in the process.
- Brewers next add yeast and sugar to begin the fermentation process. Most beer will need a few weeks to complete this process. During that time, the temperature of the fermentation space is important. Though it may vary depending on the type of beer, 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is typically the optimal room temperature for this step in the brewing process, according to Brew with Kits.
- Once the beer is bottled, it will need time to age. Higher temperatures will mean faster aging, so brewers need to be cognizant of the temperature. Most beers should age in an environment at 55 to 65 degrees, according to Draft.
Given the different temperature requirements of the brewing process, breweries need discrete temperature zones. Some buildings may be effectively insulated and separated for each step, but many spaces are not. Industrial insulated curtains are a flexible, cost-effective solution for creating and maintaining separate temperature zones. The opaque curtains can also help control the light conditions, another vital factor that affects the quality of the final product.
Storage and Distribution
Once beer is aged and ready for sale, it will either be sold at the brewery or it will be shipped through various distribution channels. The ideal storage temperature for beer, whether it is being kept at the brewery or a third-party logistics warehouse, varies depending on the type of beer. For example, IPAs and lagers are best stored at 45 to 50 degrees, while sour beer is typically stored at 50 to 55 degrees, according to The Hop Review.
Breweries that create a wide variety of beers can create temperature-specific zones in their storage space; likewise, distribution warehouses can maintain ideal temperatures while beer waits for shipping to its final destination. For example, R-8 and R-9 2” Insulated Soft Walls are an effective tool for transportation facilities and warehouses with temperature sections. These insulated curtains can maintain a maximum temperature difference of 22 degrees.
If your brewery, large or small, needs help with temperature management, we have the solution. Contact us to speak with a knowledgeable Industrial Curtain Wall Specialist about the different types of insulated curtains and get a quote for your business.