Big technology on a small scale

The trend towards craft beers shows how keen many consumers are to reward individualised product concepts. Hence the demand we are seeing for flexibility in production operations. Learning from “big” brewing technology and using it for producing specialty beers in small batches: a balancing act successfully mastered by Krones AG with the CombiCube system. Ralph Schneid explained the principle of “combinable cubes” at the drinktec’s Innovation Flow Lounge. “Think big, act flexibly, produce small”, to quote Ralph Schneid.

CombiCube is predestined for relatively small specialty breweries with up to 250,000 hectolitres of sales-quality beer, who have to handle a wide diversity of types and seasonal products. Large industrial breweries can use it to brew small batches for specialty beers, deploy the system as a innnovation flow loungepilot plant for product development projects or as a mobile brewery. “The system is modularised in construction, permits an individualised design configuration, and can be easily expanded”, Ralph Schneid explained to his audience. “The type and number of vessels can be chosen to suit the particular requirements concerned.” The three “cubes” are the CombiCube B brewhouse, the CombiCube C cellarage unit and the CombiCube F filtering system. Role models from large-scale plant construction, like ShakesBeer, the Twin Flow System or TwinPro have been used to retain the requisite functionality while reducing the equipment outlay and tapping into the advantages of the “small” size. This renders field-proven, user-friendly technology accessible to small and mid-tier breweries as well.

“The importance of innovative concepts nowadays is demonstrated by the success of the microbreweries, whose flexibility means they can repeatedly launch new beers on the market. Thanks to dependable high-performance technology, the CombiCube enables us to offer these breweries an option for making top-quality products with different brewing processes and high volume variance.”