A British beer brewing firm that dates back centuries has installed new technology at one of its sites in an effort to streamline operations and use less electricity.
Last week, a crane was used to put the new yeast propagation plant into place at a Shepherd Neame facility in Faversham, located approximately 50 miles southeast of London. Yeast propagation refers to a process that brewers utilize to increase the amount of yeast they can use.
In a statement issued at the time, the business said the system would take small amounts of yeast produced in the brewery's lab and "multiply it into a large volume for use in the brewing process."
Mark Bowes, who is chief engineer at Shepherd Neame, explained that the brewery — which was officially founded in 1698 and is known as Britain's oldest — had been propagating yeast utilizing "an amalgam of equipment" that was not "specifically designed for the task" and "coming towards the end of its life."
The new plant, Bowes said, would "make a huge difference to the efficiency of our production process."
"A key difference is that the system is fully automated, so in addition to saving time for our team members, it will be a completely sterile process and will also ensure a consistency in quality," he added.
"Our previous system also required us to buy pure oxygen to aerate the yeast, while this system just uses air, and due to its energy-efficient design, it will also require less electricity to power the entire process." It's hoped that the system will be in use by the end of next month.
The development, which began in March but was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, involved the removal of a Victorian-era brick wall and installation of a steel frame in its place. In addition, new foundations were created to make sure that the site could take the weight of the system.
Shepherd Neame is one of several companies in the drinks business attempting to harness new technologies and ideas in order to boost efficiency and cut energy use.
Earlier this summer, for example, Diageo announced that a whiskey distillery being built in Kentucky was "expected to be carbon neutral."
In a statement issued at the end of June, the drinks giant listed a number of features it hoped would boost the sustainability of the distillery and its operations.
These include: The facility running on 100% renewable electricity; the use of LED bulbs indoors to boost energy efficiency; and all vehicles operated there being electric.
In addition, interior lighting within the site's warehouse will use technology that "will only activate during loading or unloading activities," while electrode boilers will be used instead of fossil-fuel fired ones.