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The seven-year itch? Not with the CombiCube B

Beer and me? A marriage made in heaven. The infinite number of different beer styles has never failed to impress me – quite apart from their delicious taste, of course. Since I’ve been working at Krones, I’ve been getting more and more glimpses behind the scenes as well – not least in terms of the production technology that’s used to make beer. Dr. Ralph Schneid, a Product Manager at Krones, told me more about the compactly dimensioned CombiCube B brewhouse – and explained which brewers might find this Steinecker solution particularly attractive.

Dr. Schneid, the CombiCube B has meanwhile been on the market for seven years. For what breweries is it a particularly attractive option?

The CombiCube B is primarily suited for small and mid-tier breweries that differ from their larger counterparts in terms of a highly diversified product range and seasonal beers. The quantity of beer it can produce annually lies between 80,000 and 250,000 hectolitres.

What advantages does the compact-size brewhouse offer?

The system is in modularised construction, and can thus be expanded in stages. So breweries can initially wait and see how the market develops, and then upsize. Despite the fact that the system’s components have been very largely standardised, brewers enjoy huge flexibility in terms of brew sizes and brewing processes. The pre-assembled system components can be installed and commissioned at the client’s facility within a minimised timeframe. What’s more, the entire system is fully automated, and thus requires only a low operator workload.

How long has the CombiCube B been on the market now, and how has it been design-enhanced in the meantime?

We premiered the CombiCube B for the public at the BrauBeviale 2010 in Nuremberg, which was before the craft beer trend had really arrived in Europe. We hardly had to make any technical changes at all. This was all the more gratifying for us because we see it as evidence of a good concept accepted by the market.

However, our customers’ requirements have meanwhile changed significantly in terms of the output range they want – they’ve been asking for very much smaller batch sizes. Since these smaller batches couldn’t be viably handled with the CombiCube B, we’ve created an even smaller product series in the shape of the MicroCube.

How often has the CombiCube B been sold, and how do the clients rate it?

22 CombiCube B brewhouses have been built so far, and are running to our clients’ total satisfaction. But in recent years we’ve been observing a definite trend towards the MicroCube.

In what regions is particular interest observable in the compact brewhouse?

North America and Europe are the principal regions when it comes to small brewing systems. But the CombiCube B is also being used by brewers in Lithuania, Taiwan and Australia.

Besides the CombiCube B, Krones also offers the CombiCube C and F models. What do these three solutions have in common?

With the CombiCube Filter (F) and Cellar (C), we have rounded off the portfolio, enabling us to supply not only the brewhouse, but also complete brewing systems for the output range I’ve mentioned. They don’t have to be operated together, though, they can also be integrated individually into existing breweries – provided the situational conditions permit.

My thanks go to Ralph Schneid for this update concerning the CombiCube B. I found it highly interesting and informative – do you agree? Do you have any further questions? Then feel free to post them in the comments!

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