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    Coruscatingly creative
      Within just two and a half years, the Parallel 49 Brewing Company in Vancouver has rocketed from zero to an annual output of 20,000 hectolitres.

      Five friends had joined forces and in March 2012 opened the microbrewery in the Eastside industrial/residential mixed district. Now it was high time for an “authentic bottle filler”, which in the form of a Kosme labeller-rinser-filler monobloc went into operation during the summer of 2014.

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      “The footprint of this monobloc is minimal, and that was a big plus for us. Many breweries, you know, believe that it’s more sensible to label your bottles only after they’ve been filled. They’re wrong. Prelabelling is more efficient. Firstly, it saves a lot of space, and secondly, you don’t need to dry the bottles, which reduces the capital investment and operating costs involved,” packaging mechanic Mike Sleeman explains. “Krones and its subsidiary Kosme is one of the few companies that offers a monobloc of this kind.”

      “It’s a work of art”

      Mike Sleeman also sees it as a crucial advantage for the line’s availability levels that the machine halts if a bottle breaks, so that the glass fragments are not entrained. “We had a lot of trouble with this in the old filler.” And the monobloc’s rating of 10,000 bottles per hour is precisely what he was looking for: “Kosme offers the perfect size for micro-breweries. And the way we’re growing, we’re going to be installing a Krones filler next.” P49 uses two different container sizes, a 341-millilitre-non-returnable-bottle for the “standard” products and a 650-millilitre-non-returnable-bottle for specialty beers. “Changing over to a different bottle size used to take four hours. With the Kosme monobloc, we can do it nowadays in 45 minutes during the lunch break,” explains Sleeman. “We have very few standstill times overall.”

      P49 has also solved the major problem of inconsistent fill levels in the old filler. The fill level is now constant, and is additionally verified by a Krones Checkmat F-HF. “We’re also the first brewery in Canada to run the filler for a particular beer with nitrogen, but without a widget. Here, a precise fill level is extremely important.” During the installation work, Krones did a fantastically supportive job for P49, says Mike Sleeman. If any difficulty was encountered, it got solved. “Krones will definitely be right at the top of the list when we expand,” avers Sleeman. “What’s more, the service Krones offers is simply incomparable. For me as a packaging mechanic, this is a wonderful machine,” he enthuses. “It’s a work of art. We can unreservedly recommend Krones and Kosme for the craft brewing industry.”

      “Our first ‘authentic’ filler”

      Brewmaster Graham With, who is passionate about the quality of his beers, is no less enthusiastic about the quality of the filler. Understandably. After all, together with his four brewers, he uses only the best ingredients in the brewing process and insists on maintaining this quality all the way through into the bottle. He’s particularly fond of hoppy beers. Cascade and Centennial from Yakima, Hallertauer medium-cloudy and Magnum are his favourite hop varieties, some of which he uses in cold hopping. “In terms of microbiology, we have no problems at all with the filler,” he says. Thanks not least to a dosage of chlorine dioxide in the rinsing water. The most important criterion for him is the dissolved oxygen in the bottle. “We used to be running at 250 ppb, now we’re getting a maximum of 25 ppb, but mostly even below ten ppb.” In the bright-beer tank, the beer has an oxygen content of seven ppb. This means that oxygen pick-up in the filler is minimal. He’s also insistent that the fill level is constant, since with the nitrogen beers N2 Milk Stout and N2 Extra Special Bitter it’s the fill level that determines the pressure in the bottle. “This is now our first ‘authentic’ filler,” says Graham With, and recalls old times: “Ten, twenty years ago, you see, there was already a trend toward craft beers. Essentially, it failed because the quality wasn’t right. In the ongoing boom, things are different. I believe that craft beer will carve out for itself a permanent place in consumer demand patterns.”

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