Grand Teton Brewing – 2013 Brewhouse Progress Report
As 2013 comes to a close at Grand Teton Brewing, we want to take a moment to reflect on all that has changed with our business during this year. Probably most important is that we have made enough improvements in the brewery to no longer require part-time help outside of the pub. Our 22 terrific full-time employees work together to cover all areas of our company: sales, production, shipping, maintenance and office. We continue to employ several part-time employees to serve customers in our pub. The change to a full-time staff has made for greater teamwork, collaboration, dedication and attention to detail as we strive to be Idaho’s best and most renown craft brewery.
Let’s look at some of these many changes…
We started the year by completing installation of our new (to us) mash/lauter tun in mid-January. What a difference it has made! It increased each mash size to a full 30 barrels. We have reduced mashes required per barrel of beer produced by over 20%. We have reduced malt expenses by recovering ~11% more carbohydrate from each pound of malt. Fewer mashes also means less labor and less energy per barrel of beer. To top it off, the new vessel makes controlling wort quality much easier and more consistent.
We followed this success by addressing a long-term bottling line headache by purchasing a new bottle de-palletizer. The new machine, Made in America by AIS Container Handling, was installed in the second half of June. What a difference maker. In 2012, we needed 2+ employees to hand-place over 2.3 million bottles on our bottling line. Today, we are bottling at a 50% faster rate and need less than half of one person’s time to keep the line fully supplied with empty bottles.
We next sold our old six-pack carrier erector and purchased a new (to us) carrier erector that handles both six and four bottle carriers. Now a machine does the work that previously was done by hand. A side benefit is that adjustments and maintenance for this machine are more straightforward.
We have reached a point where these new machines together with improvements made to our existing filler and labeler have increased per minute bottle production. We have more improvements in the works for 2014. All these positive changes, together with ongoing investments in our QC program, lead to the continued production of consistently high quality beer.
Finally, we have reduced our 2013 brewery fuel use as compared to 2012 by more than 50% thru recovering waste fermentation heat to pre-heat water and reducing mashes per barrel of beer produced.
We are thankful for being able to live and work in Teton Valley, Idaho. For 25 years, we have given back to our community, donating our beer and soda to 501 c3 non-profit groups to support their charitable events in Teton Valley in both Idaho and Wyoming. Currently, a non-profit donations committee of Grand Teton employees oversees our yearly budget as a way to enhance the quality of life in our local area. In addition, our employees are very active in many of these important local non-profit organizations.
In closing, we thank our employees, our local officials, our suppliers, our distributor partners and our customers for supporting Grand Teton Brewing and helping us achieve such meaningful progress. We wish each of you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday season and a healthy new year.
Steve and Ellen Furbacher
Owners – Grand Teton Brewing