Does anyone have any advice about how to prep bottles ready for small scale, possibly manual, filling and capping? I am planning on bottle conditioning, but I may not use a commercial bottler initially (which I think can have a pre-fill rinse). Do I need to wash or sterilize them first? Assume they will arrive clean, dry and plastic wrapped from the supplier and are stored in a clean, dry place...
I assume, also, that kegs should be washed using a keg washer...
When we package using our rotary filler we take the glass off the palate through a bottle rinser that rinses with city water then dose with LN2 then fills and crown. The rinse with city water has worked great so far. However when we package seasonals/special releases in bomber bottles we rinse the bottle by hand using a two homebrew bottle rinseser with a weak sanitizer solution running through it. This also seems to work very well for us. We then purge and counter pressure fill on a manual 4 head filler then pass the bottles to the second man on the line who gives the bottles a little shake and then caps on foam. Yes it may sound primative but it works great for our beers that our only going to be sold locally and packaged on a small scale.
....and yes sanke kegs should be washed on a keg washer.
There was a short discussion recently on bottle rinsing. Look up bottle rinsing in the search facility.
As for kegs - treat them as any other part of the brewery and dispense system - they are an essential link in the chain. Leave these dirty and or unsterile, you won't be in business for long. I've seen lots of small keg washer / rackers on the various message boards and 2nd hand supliers over the last couple of years.