Solutions for small bottling runs.
Greetings from a new member from Australia.
I am looking for a solution to the problem of bottling small quantities.
( 2,000/week) in a reasonably efficient and cost-effective way. Labeller for the same would also be an advantage! Any ideas?
I'd suggest a Meheen 4-head (or six-head)filler from Pasco, Washington (state), US. I think their website is www.meheen-mfg.com. It is an easy-to-use machine (once you read the owners manual) that produces consistent, low-air bottles. Since you're looking at less than 2000 bottles per week, have you thought about hand-labeling (insert "shutter-and-groan" here)?
That's the extent of my wisdom!
Small Bottling Runs
In my next lifetime as a brewery owner, beyond in-house keg and serving tank production, I will likely contract out bottled product to another brewery with a full bottling line because they can do it more efficiently than you can and bottling in-house is a pain in the arse. Not only that, but they can give you volumes for wholesale to distributors & retail outlets outside of your establishment and/or self-distribution area.
If you are set upon bottling in-house, I have experience with the Meheen Machine also and it is a fine, relatively economical solution.
Pre-labeled bottles is another option. Though certainly a pricier one, they'll probably look better in the end.
You can go with pre-labeled AND pre-filled too - but I suppose that's the option above.
You can look at these guys too: http://www.ppmconcepts.com/products.htm
They make pre-evac systems for meheen fillers that theoretically reduce airs in that filler. Search this forum for threads on this topic.
Dont forget there is a small scale canner too. (Search forum)
hmm...... I heard that in the wine industry there are people who make their living by riding around a moblie bottling plant on the back of a big truck to small wineries. The wineries dont have the capital to invest in a bottler and there is apparently a similar problem for micros. Now perhaps someone just needs to found the right area with the right concentration of needy micros to bottle for. this is an idea never fully explored, since our beer started flowing there has been little time for much of anything.
Thanks for the prompt replies and suggestions.
The Meheen has, of course, cropped up a few times in my investigations.
Lower cost alternatives seem to be the ppm tabletop fillers and range offered by HDP of Canada. Does anyone have any experience, opinions or anything to say about these products?
To put my request in context it is probably worth sharing a few observations about some of the constraints we face here in Oz.
To start with there is only one bottle manufacture in the entire country and hence a limited choice of bottles available to the micro brewery sector
( unless you can afford $100,000 for a mould and a minimum of a 1 million run )
So I've had enough difficulty finding bottles let alone ones with labels on them.
Contracting is also limited as we are about 300 miles from the nearest bottling plant.
Do you think someone is trying to tell me something about this plan?
We use an HDP filler....it's a 3 head, they only make 4 or more head fillers these days. I'm thrilled with how well ours works - of course our product is brewed soda, not beer....so certainly there are differences in the products' behavior (foaming, etc.). However, we purchased this HDP filler used from a brewery in ME, and he also had a good experience with it....just needed faster production, so he upgraded to a larger PPM machine (not tabletop). Also, he is VERY pleased with the PPM, and I believe you can start with a PPM tabletop and upgrade it to the larger faster model.
Apologies for the confusion Straub
Originally Posted by Straub
We're talking Australia here !
We are in a very similar situation. We are starting up a small micro in Israel where there is also only one bottle manufacturer (you'd think with all the sand there'd be more!) so the cost of getting bottles domestically is very high. In addition, I've been getting the impression that importing from one European manufacturer is unreliable so I can't even be sure of a steady supply of one type of bottle. I've been looking for a small machine (2 - 4 head) that can be easily modified for different size bottles from 330 - 750 ml but haven't found one. I remember hearing about a "Little Prince" bottler that I thought was modifiable but can't find it anywhere. Anybody know if such an animal exists?
The Dancing Camel Brewing Co., Ltd.
Contact Joel Manning or John Cressman at MacDonald Steel Ltd.
Phone: 519 740 9399 ext. 3287
Fax: 519 621 4995
They manufacture the Heavy Duty Filler which is very flexible and functional.
I had them build an in-line filler for me that was 6 heads for PET 1 Litre bottles and 3 heads for 5L cans. It worked very well and we eventually ran it multi-shifts during the summer.
Guelph, Ontario Canada
ECO Brew Tech in Italy sells those manual in line fillers, 2, 4 0r 6 neck, counter pressure, any size beer bottles, they even sell manual lable machines which you place the single bottle in a roller and it rolls on the lable. 2 people can do over 200 bph this way....I believe they are produced in Hungary.
We used pre-printed bottles
Our brewery used pre-printed bottles whick we simply charged more of a deposit for. It was cheaper for small runs.
Originally Posted by RICHARD JENNING
We also used a small 2-head filler to fill the bottles not sure if we did as many as 2000 per week but we did do several hundred - we used quart bottles so the filling was easier as well and they are a bit of a novelty.
So in my business plan, I'm looking at a small amount of distribution through bottles and am not all that interested in investing in bottling equipment. Do you know of any companies that offer bottling services so I could get a planning estimate? Also, in what form would the bottler need the beer delivered?
Originally Posted by rebelo
Thanks for the help.
Originally Posted by RICHARD JENNING
I am a new member in Sweden a the same situation.
I have found www.brouwland.com in Belgien, they have some bottle/labeling equitment