Beers brewed with barley or malted wheat contain gluten. This means that a person with celiac disease – a condition in which a person cannot tolerate gluten (a protein compound found in foods processed from wheat and related grain sources, including beer) – Normally couldn’t enjoy a craft beer without innovators like Ghostfish Brewing Co. As Seattle’s premier gluten-free brewery and America’s largest dedicated gluten-free beer producer, Ghostfish Brewing has won millions of awards since opening. in 2015, bringing gluten intolerant customers back into the beer fold. Of course, this niche was not the initial idea.
“Most people don’t know that we didn’t start with the intention of being a dedicated gluten-free brewery,” said Brian Thiel, co-founder of Ghostfish Brewing. “More than several months after starting the brewery planning phase, we pivoted and changed the trajectory of the project based on a suggestion I made after realizing how difficult it was for my loved ones. to enjoy a good gluten-free beer …
“A lot has changed over the past seven years. Several years ago we went from a casual brewery / boutique to our vision as a full-fledged production / packaging brewery. Guided by an experienced production team and aided by several timely expansion projects, we are on track to exceed 7,000 barrels this year. Built on the variety of seven year-round beers and a host of seasonal and limited beers, we currently distribute to nearly 20 states with growing export activity to Canada and the UK.
To brew delicious gluten-free beers like Kick Step IPA and Meteor Shower Blonde Ale, Ghostfish Brewing uses much of the standard variety of equipment both in the brewhouse and in the packing hall, fermenters to can fillers. What is really essential is that no ingredients containing gluten are allowed in the production facility of Ghostfish Brewing.
“Leading with a quality mindset is one of the most important aspects of our operation,” said Thiel. “Our standard of quality has always been the best beer around. From the start we have strived to make beer so that every beer drinker can enjoy it, gluten free or not. From the start, we figured that in order to change people’s perceptions of gluten-free beer, we wouldn’t be able to just be gluten-free beer # 2 or # 3. Why else would they even give us a try? “
This quality control process has come with an increasing emphasis on the equipment side. For example, Ghostfish Brewing uses a Sullair SRL 16.5 oil-free scroll compressor to help them run their canning processes – attaching lids to cans, blowing water on top of cans, and applying paint. plastic brackets. In addition, compressed air is used in the barrel washing process. Why is oil-free important?
While oil lubricated compressors have traditionally been used in breweries, using that same air for aeration or purging can have serious effects on beer. When compressed air is used in direct contact with mash, wort, beer, containers or pipes, traces of oil can adversely affect the quality of the beer. In these types of sensitive pneumatic operations, an oil-free compressor is particularly advantageous for applications where air comes into direct contact with the ingredients. Even for applications where there is no direct contact between the ingredients and the air, like the Ghostfish packaging line, it can be beneficial to keep the end product clean enough to put your mouth on it.
“Compressed air is not one of the ingredients that goes into making craft beer,” said Amy Offord, Southeastern US Regional Sales Manager at Sullair. “but it is used in the manufacturing process for things that push fluids through pipelines or reservoirs, power for pneumatic conveying, aeration of raw materials, valve modulation, and purge gas to move solutions during sterilization processes in drums or cans. It also plays a vital role in pneumatic operations of portable canning equipment. The bottom line is that compressed air will most likely come into contact with the product final, so why take the risk of possible contamination?
“For micro-breweries that produce less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year, their free air delivery [FAD] the requirement is typically less than 80 scfm at 120 psig, which makes our SRL series scroll compressors a perfect fit. The actual size of the compressor can vary and is totally dependent on the amount of air needed for their specific brewing process. Most of the micro breweries I have come across require a smaller size compressor than the Ghostfish brewery and require – 25-30 scfm at 105 psig of compressed air. Our 10 hp SRL series unit which can deliver up to 30.2 cfm at 122 psig is perfectly sized for this smallest requirement.
Compressor air quality is divided into quality classes with three main types of contaminants: solids, moisture, and liquid water and oil. Solid particles (such as dust or scale) are removed by filters. Moisture and liquid water are removed by compressed air dryers, and oil (liquid and vapor) is removed by coalescing oil removal filters and activated carbon oil vapor adsorbing filters (coal).
There are also many oil-free air compressors that don’t use oil in the first place. An air compressor can have a completely dry sump to achieve its 100% oil-free specification. Some oil-free compressors still use oil. Sullair is owned by Hitachi and Sullair oil-free compressors use the “Hitachi Patented Closed Cycle Oil Mist Removal System”. Here is a summary :
There is a patented process to eliminate the risk of oil mist from the air compressor crankcase being reintroduced through the compressor intake. This patented process creates a closed loop gear case oil mist removal system that recycles the oil back into the gear case. One to three cfm of compressed air is regulated by a venturi. The venturi evacuates the base and sucks the oil mist in a coalescing filter. The oil is removed from the bottom of the sump, through a float trap, and returned to the gear housing.
Sullair’s entire SRL series uses this advanced scroll compressor technology which can help meet the oil-free air needs of a craft brewery. Why did Ghostfish specifically opt for the Sullair SRL 16.5, which boasts 22 hp (16.5 kW) with a pneumatic output of 122 to 145 psi and up to 64.6 cfm. “The oil-free scroll technology you get with the Sullair SRL 16.5 helps us maintain the integrity of our product without worrying about compressor lubricants contaminating our product,” said Thiel. “With the additional load on our canning line, we had to increase the capacity of the compressor. We saw the benefit of the oil-free system and were willing to pay more for it as an upfront cost, but the reduced maintenance costs associated with not having equipment flooded with oil. [either recips or oil flooded rotary screws] is a long term benefit beyond the oil free appearance. For us, choosing the Sullair SRL 16.5 was an easy decision with the solid reputation of Sullair and Hitachi in the equation.
It’s this attention to detail that has made Ghostfish the leading gluten-free craft brewery in America.
The brand can now be purchased at retail in 19 states, and is available for ordering online from valuable trading partners in approximately 30 states. The Seattle brewery has gained enough popularity to consider opening a second location in West Brewery East).
“It’s like we’ve been in a state of perpetual expansion over the past few years,” Thiel said. “We are working hard to increase our production capacity to meet growing demand while adding additional equipment on our canning line to maintain quality standards. An exciting development for us is the addition of Ghostfish East. This is a new production facility slated for operation early in the second quarter of 2022 that will significantly increase our overall capacity and allow us to recognize our vision to be the leading supplier of dedicated gluten-free beer in North America. We aim to be the preferred gluten-free beer choice for retailers and consumers based on taste, quality and value.
“The advice I would give to someone interested in getting into the gluten-free beer business would be the same as I would give to anyone starting a business. Due to your due diligence in the market. Build a solid business plan based on solid data and realistic goals. Plan to need more start-up money than your budget. Last but not least, refine your “why” for starting the business. Ask yourself, “Why should someone care about my brewery?” “
This is solid advice. And when it comes to compressed air from a brewer, Sullair shares some latest information.
“The sizing of the compressor is based on the amount of clean compressed air needed, while the availability of power at their location will dictate the voltage requirements,” explained Offord. “All compressed air applications in craft brewing require clean, dry air, which makes additional compressed air treatment necessary. Air from the atmosphere, containing moisture, water vapor and solid particles, enters the air compressor inlet for compression. The intake filter removes some, but not all, solid particles. After compression is performed, the resulting compressed air discharged has a higher temperature, thus retaining more moisture, and still contains solid particles. An air dryer is needed to remove moisture from compressed air by cooling the air. This cooling process causes the water vapor to condense in a liquid form which can then be removed so that it is not introduced into the final application. Different types of air dryers can be used in the air drying process, but refrigerant dryers tend to be the most common.
“Likewise, a pre-filter before the air dryer, as well as a post-filter after the dryer, are also needed to remove solid particles. The air dryer and filtration are sized according to the compressed air capacity of the compressor.