There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep the craft beer you love flowing smoothly. In this blog post, we chat with Callum Stewart, brewery operations manager at Grimross, about how the team keeps on top of production to satisfy an ever-growing, thirsty crowd of craft beer drinkers.
What to Brew When
Since opening its doors in 2013, Grimross has increased its production capacity considerably. The brewery now has six 20 barrel tanks, seven 30 barrel tanks and two 60 barrel tanks. Each barrel is ~120 litres, so you can imagine just how much craft beer is under this roof at any given time!
“It takes anywhere from two to six weeks to brew our beers to perfection, depending on the kind of beer,” explains Callum. “We brew many types of beer, including year-round beers like Cheval D’Or and Maritime Cream Ale, as well as our seasonal and scratch series beers. To stay ahead of things, we plan up to a year in advance.”
Craft beer is in high demand with more and more craft beers flying off store shelves every day. Making sure Grimross has enough product to sell is a good problem to have.
“We need to know how much beer to brew and when to brew what,” says Callum. “We track how quickly each beer is selling and compare that with historical data, making note of trends over time. This helps inform what beers to make next.”
Production changes seasonally, peaking in the summer with a notable spike in beer purchases between June and August. There’s another peak in late November that continues into December for holiday parties. People tend to “dry out” in January, and then the brewery sees an increase in sales once more.
Kegs, Growlers and Cans—Oh My!
The Grimross team needs to brew enough beer to fill many different purposes. First, it must maintain its own kegs (50-60 litres each) for in-house draft. The brewery must also fulfill its commitment to restaurants, sending out many 20 litre kegs all across the Maritimes. It also must brew enough beer to fill the take-home growlers and cans sold in the brewtique, and make enough cans for the liquor stores (ANBL).
To maintain quality when filling kegs and growlers, Grimross staff pre-purges oxygen from the vessels and pressurizes the bottles. They use special equipment for a gentler flow of beer (compared to draft pours) to keep more carbonation in the beer so they last for a longer period of time.
When it comes time to can its beers, Grimross currently uses the services of a mobile canning company, Craft Coast Canning. “It’s much more efficient than what we were doing before,” says Callum. “We’d rather save that room for more tanks to brew more beer!”
So, drink up! You can expect many more good brews from Grimross throughout the years.