As we approach the end of January it seemed about time we did a round of of what we managed to achieve in 2018 and a little bit about what to expect to; see, hear & taste from us over the coming year.
PACKING LINE: We put a lot of work into improving our packing line last year adding a case packing machine, depalletiser, barcode printer & laser coding machine.
CANNING LINE: Probably one of the biggest and most rewarding investments we have made in a number of years, we bought a new canning line. The 5 head linear Cask ACS machine we have been using the past couple of years really got into the swing of things last year, we were managing to squeeze a lot of beer out of it, however not quite as much as we'd like to have. Our new Matrix rotary machine is a thing of beauty, with 32 counter pressure filling heads, four seamers and capable of up to 18k cans per hour. We are currently running it at about 9k p/h but that is still seven and a half times faster than the older one with minimal oxygen pick up too.
CRAFT LAGER: Our 4% lager "Draught" had been a keg only product for a number of years, it didn't have much of brand identity but with our decision to start packaging it was very apparent "Draught" was no longer a suitable name for it. Now in it's 14th recipe iteration our "Craft Lager" was re-born and packaged into 44cl "Tallboy" cans.
BRAND REFRESH: Our core brands have had slight tweaks done to the artwork over the years however had not seen a full refresh in a long time. They had began to feel a little traditional & disjointed in today's marketplace & also lacked uniformity about them as a group. Along with the bespoke bottle design our creative director Mil set to work on bringing our much loved "Big 8" core range of bottles together as a family. He did a fantastic job and the feedback has been great.
MARSHALL: A project that had been in the works for a good while now was working with the legendary Marshall Amplification on a range of Rock 'N' Roll beers. In October we launched three beers with them: Amped Up Lager, Full Stack IPA & Jims Treble. The three beers were launched in true Rock 'N' Roll style under the seven peaks of Drygate, with an evening of craft beer, street food and live music. Marshall Records artists King Creature opened the evening with a unplugged set in the beer hall, followed by chart toppers The Darkness in the event space.
NEW BREWHOUSE: We have been brewing our wee hearts out on the original 2 vessel 60 hectolitre brewhouse we inherited when we took on the the old Forth Brewery site here in Kelliebank. It has been an absolute workhorse & served us extremely well for the past 15 years, however this March shall see us take delivery of a brand new brewhouse. This new 80 hectolitre, 3 vessel brew-block from SSV Ltd. should enhance our brewing capacity with increased brew length, shorter cycle times & better efficiencies. The addition of a 3rd "whirlpool" vessel should also see us get more aroma & flavour out of our late hop additions too which is going to be particularly useful for some new brews we have planned for this year....
NEW BEERS: We didn't release a lot of new beers in 2018 due to capacity constraints but this year with the new brew-house imminent & the new canning line working a treat we have a chance to think about conjuring up something new. We are currently putting finishing touches to recipes & designs for a bold range of new brews. There will be more about them as they come to fruition, however what I can tell you just now is there will be four of them, all in "Tallboy" 50cl can format with designs as bold & vibrant as the contents shall be.
TANKS: As always we need more tanks, we do a lot of contract work with other brewers so tank space is often an issue. We have just this week taken delivery of 2 x 100hl, 2 x 150hl & 3 x 180hl tanks and our engineers are working away reconditioning some old tanks we had previously bought at auction.
SPACE: No we are not going to be rocketing beer into space with Tesla for a "Space-X Brut-NEIPA", we just need more warehousing space as we are slowly filling the place with tanks. We have cleared some ground out the back where some of the old building used to be and will be putting up a warehouse extension.
BOTTLES / CANS: As some of you may have read founding brother Scott Williams say in press earlier this month there is likely to be a shortage of bottles this year due to a couple of glass furnaces going down for renovation. We have been informed we should still be able to order the about the same amount of bottles as last year but of course this leaves little/no room for growth in bottle, good thing we invested in that new canning machine last year, expect to see our presence in can format grow this year.
And that's just a start on what 2019 has in store!