February 15, 2011
Grand Teton Brewing Company has begun our third week of improvements to our physical plant, and I have more exciting progress to report.
The packaging hall is the site of the most obvious changes to date.The bottling line has been completely dismantled.The old filler has been broken down to its bones, with all its good parts stored away as future spare and change parts.
Bob August and crew have completed their total rebuild of the Krones labeler.New mechanical wear parts will significantly improve the functionality and reliability of this key piece of equipment.Bob also installed completely new, 21st century programmable electronic controls that will not only keep the machine running smoothly, but allow huge improvements to our data collection and efficiency.
The overhaul of our “newer” bottle filler is complete, and it shipped from South Carolina Monday.We expect to land it into its spot in the reconfigured bottling line later this week.Conveyor work should be completed by the end of next week, paving the way for bottling to resume sometime the week of February 28.
The new bottling line configuration will take shape on top of new, sloped and drained concrete floors.The concrete work was delayed twice because of unforeseen issues.When we cut the existing floors we found the original sanitary drain system had been installed in a totally unsatisfactory manner.They had to be cut out and rebuilt.When it finally came time to pour the new floor, two of the five concrete pumps in eastern Idaho had broken down, and we lost three days waiting for one of the remaining pumps to become available.
The new floors were poured Monday, and they look great.We now have properly sloped and drained floors under our new tanks, and a clean, under-floor chase for stainless hard-piping to the filler and keg machine.We should be able to move empty tanks onto the new floor later this week, and hope to brew into them around the first of March.
Dustin Hanna completed the new wort manifold on the bottom of the lauter tun, and the brewers are testing it right now with a 90 barrel batch of Sweetgrass and a small follow-up batch of Persephone Pils, which should be available in kegs by the end of March.
Dustin’s now focused on building the conveyors needed by the new bottling line configuration, and on modifications to the lauter rakes.
Teton Valley welder Bob Hansen, of Majestic Mountain Ironworks, has begun work on a new hard-piping system for the Cellar.We expect this new system to improve our sanitation and air pickup in the Cellar, and make life a little easier for the brewers and cellarmen. It should be installed and ready to use early next week.