Plant Operations

Breweries are operated most efficiently on round-the-clock schedules. The limiting factor in production is almost always capacity of the brewhouse, mainly the lauter tub and kettle. Some breweries will have one malt mill, one cereal cooker, one mash tub, two lauter tubs, and two kettles. With a mash filter or Strainmaster, only one may be required. Large breweries will have more than one brewing line. The maximum volume of beer that can be produced from the largest practical kettle (31,000 gal) is about 3-4 million barrels (90-120,000,000 gal). Any plant making more than this has more than one brewing line.

Round-the-clock brewhouse operation also demands 24-h manning in the fermentation cellars. Although fermenting and aging tanks are always above street level, the rooms they are in are referred to as cellars, from the days when the absence of mechanical refrigeration made underground storage necessary to keep the fermenting beer cool.

The speed of packaging equipment allows the so-called bottleshop section of a brewery to run on less than round-the-clock operation, even if the rest of the brewery is on a 24-h schedule.

The many choices involved in the brewing process, and the actual day-to-day running of the brewery (but not the bottleshop) are under the domain of the brewmaster. All else in a brewery, including the bottleshop, are the domain of the plant manager.

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