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Brewer finds robust floor solution

07 January 2016

When brewer Jamie Long co-founded his own brewery in Harrisonburg, Virginia, he knew a robust floor would be essential to withstand the challenging demands of high quality craft beer production

The site he’d chosen for his new business, Pale Fire Brewing Co., was in the city’s Cassco Ice House complex; an 80-year-old building that was in the process of being renovated. However, the existing floor was unsuitable for the thermal shock, chemical spills, heavy pallets, dropped kegs and slippery conditions inherent to a brewery.

Jamie Long undertook extensive research into the best flooring solution, as part of which he visited the Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Outpost Brewery in Lexington, VA, where he reviewed the iconic Vienna Lager producer’s Flowfresh floor to see how it coped with the on-site challenges.

Flowfresh, the HACCP International Certified, cementitious urethane system from global resin flooring manufacturer Flowcrete, was compared to several alternative materials before being specified due to its ultra hygienic credentials, relevant case studies and competitive pricing.

Pale Fire Brewing Co.’s Head Brewer and Co-Founder, Jamie Long, said: “I knew we needed floors that would be able to handle the stress from brewery operations. The floor has held up remarkably well in the seven months we have been open…and we are constantly complimented on the cleanliness and professional look of the floor.”

Prior to applying the coating, concrete was poured in the brewing areas to ensure that the floor would be able to handle the weight of the heavy equipment. The floor was also sloped so that any liquids would flow into the newly installed trench drains.

Approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of Flowfresh SL was quickly laid down over just three days in the new production area, bottling line and storage rooms. A topcoat of Flowfresh SR Sealer was then applied to complete the floor’s seamless, impervious and highly durable finish.

A contemporary, dusky red colour was chosen for the floor. It was important that everything in the brewery was both functional and aesthetically appealing, as customers in the Pale Fire Brewing Co.’s stylish Tap Room would be able to look into the production area.

The fact that Flowfresh incorporates Polygiene was particularly appealing to the Pale Fire Brewing Co. The silver-ion based bactericidal additive is homogeneously distributed throughout the Flowfresh material to complement regular floor cleaning and hygiene practices between the site’s scheduled wash cycles.

Flowfresh samples have been evaluated to the ISO 22196 test method, which measures a surface’s antibacterial effectiveness on plastics and other non-porous surfaces.

Slips and trips is another key brewery concern that Jamie wanted to overcome with his choice of flooring, as spillages of beer, by-products and ingredients during the brewing process can all become dangerous hazards. The floor was installed with a full broadcast of aggregates to help avoid such accidents by enhancing traction underfoot.

During the specification process the brewery’s owners had decided against a cove base, however the Flowcrete Americas' approved applicator convinced the client during the shotblasting process of its advantages. Since opening, the client has been impressed with how much easier the coving makes it to wash the site.

Jamie Long said: “I would highly advise the cove base to anyone looking to install Flowcrete floors. There are always small pieces of grain by the brewhouse after a brew day and the cove makes it much easier to spray around the perimeter to send it to the drain. Without the cove, grain and dirt would likely get trapped at the 90-degree edge of the floor.”

Being unable to clear away contaminants like this could leave a brewery vulnerable to being compromised by dangerous microbes. The ability of Flowfresh to effectively minimise the potential for contamination incidents in food and beverage manufacturing facilities led to it being awarded HACCP International Certification.

Jamie Long added: “The cove base also helps protect some of the drywall that meets our production floor from soaking water up at the edge. The cove base was a relatively small investment to complement the rest of our production floor coating.”

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