Children are bound to grow up. And the same appears to be true of many craft breweries around the world. It certainly is true of Sevenbräu, also known as 7Bräu. Since its founding 20 years ago – in 2003 –, as a small alehouse in the Gangseo district of Seoul, it has grown into South Korea’s biggest craft brewery. The newest of its three production plants is the greenfield brewery in Iksan-si in the province of Jeollabuk-do. For this facility, Sevenbräu contracted Krones and Steinecker, the beer expert of the Krones Group to install the entire brewhouse, the cold block and the can filler.
The craft brewery Sevenbräu relies on technology from the Krones Group for its latest greenfield brewery.
Known nationwide for its wheat beer
It wasn’t until 2011 that Sevenbräu officially entered the craft brewing market, under the leadership of founder Kim Kang Sam, having been the first small company in Korea to obtain a brewing license. The brewery initially distributed its beer in kegs.
The company gained national attention in 2020, when it launched the Gompyo brand, which was a huge success across the country. The wheat beer was a collaboration between Sevenbräu, Korea’s biggest convenience store chain CU and Daehan Flour Mill. The beer was produced using locally grown wheat and with three main flavors: passion fruit, peach and pineapple.
Most importantly, Gompyo was produced with unique style of Belgium Saison yeast instead of commonly used Weizen yeast. The label design was inspired by Daehan’s flagship flour brand, Gompyo, which is easily recognized in South Korea by its signature polar bear logo (“gom” means bear in Korean).
Soon after its launch in May 2020, Gompyo had risen to the top of CU’s beer sales, outpacing imports and traditional local favorites alike. That same year, changes were made to a Korean law under which beer makers could, until then, only produce their beers in their own breweries. The new law enabled CU and Sevenbräu to increase production capacity 15-fold – to three million cans per month – by using a large-scale brewery’s equipment. Sevenbräu had made its breakthrough. In early 2023, the license for Gompyo expired and since then, Sevenbräu has been producing wheat beer using the same recipe but under a new brand name: Daepyo.
The craft brewery now operates three production plants:
- Hoengseong brewery in Hoenseong, Gangwon-do
- Yangpyeong brewery in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi-do
- Sevenbrau-is in Iksan-si, Jeollabuk-do
Since launching its first domestic ale, Sevenbräu IPA Can Beer, in 2012, the company has added a wide variety of beers to its portfolio, including craft beers named after beloved places in South Korea such as Gangseo, Seoul, Hangang (the Han River) and Yangpyeong. The beers are filled into kegs, bottles and cans.
The new line in detail
The new brewhouse is laid out to produce 100 hectoliters of hot wort per brew. At ten brews per day, five days a week, the facility runs 50 brews each week, operating in three shifts. That, combined with the expansion of the fermentation and maturation cellar, makes for an annual capacity of 120,000 hectoliters. At maximum expansion of the fermentation and maturation cellar area, the new brewhouse would even be capable of producing twice that amount in the future: 240,000 hectoliters.
The machines and equipment of the new brewhouse include:
- Three malt intake stations for silo goods and one for bags
- Three 30-ton malt silos
- Dry mill rated at 1,600 kilograms per hour
- Pre-masher rated at ten tons per hour
- CombiCube with a batch size of 100 hectoliters, consisting of:
- Three hops dosing containers
- Wet spent grains silo
- Trub tank
- Wort cooler
- CIP system
For now, the brewhouse is designed to produce three different beers: wheat beer, lager and IPA. The IPA is brewed with a wort concentration of 20 degrees Plato, but only with 72 hectoliters of hot wort. The CombiCube consists of pre-assembled modules that can be particularly quickly installed and put into operation.
Fermentation and maturation cellar
- Yeast propagator
- Dry-hop doser
- Carbonation plant
- Dosing system
- Filtrate buffer tank
- Water degassing plant with buffer tank
- Sterile air supply
- Dealcoholization system for five hectoliters per hour
- Botec F1 process control system
The three different yeast strains for the three beers can be cultivated in a propagator and kept in a yeast storage tank. Six days are calculated for fermentation in the 17 tanks (with net volumes of 100 to 600 hectoliters each) and another eight days for maturation. From there, a total of four bright-beer tanks of corresponding 100 to 600 hectoliters’ volume supply the beers to the filler, which is designed to handle 150 hectoliters per hour. For the cellar area, we also installed a new CIP system.
New can filler
In addition, Krones delivered a new Craftmate C can filler rated at 12,000 0.5-liter cans per hour, which also went online in early 2022. The Craftmate C is specially designed for small-scale can filling but uses the same technology as the big fillers. For example, it employs electro-pneumatically controlled filling valves, and an inductive flow meter makes it possible to set the precise fill volume.
CEO Kim Kang Sam comments: "We chose Krones in our Sevenbrau-is brewery because it was a turnkey project for processing and packaging at Craft Brewery, and in order to take a major step forward as a company, we needed the appropriate equipment. We have been extremely satisfied with it so far, especially with the local service and quick responsiveness."