A common application for curved stainless steel sheet and plate is in the brewing process. And craft beer is one of the fastest growing segments in the beverage industry. In 2011, the industry experienced 13% growth; in 2012, 15%.
To meet that demand, new breweries are constantly opening, and existing breweries are adding tanks to increase their capacity. According to the Brewers Association, 409 breweries were scheduled to be opened in 2012, while only 43 were closing.
We were recently contacted by a small brewery looking to fabricate its own fermentation tanks. The company turned to us to supply rolled stainless steel cylinders and cones. The associates there told us that as a result of demand, there was a one-year lead time for tanks form the major tank fabricators, and they needed additional capacity sooner. While the project is still in the works, they have a trusted fabrication team experienced in working with sanitary stainless who would subcontract the sheet and plate rolling to us.
I recently attended a presentation by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at Revolution Brewing in Chicago, IL. The company started as a brewpub, and recently opened a production facility to meet distribution demand. They gave a tour of their new facilities and various energy and cost-saving initiatives that were implemented by the design team with the help of ComEd and Nicor Gas. As was the case with the brewery who has contacted us, Revolution Brewing has recently ordered additional tanks to help meet demand, and they have a similar wait time. If Chicago Metal Rolled Products curves the sheet and plate for the brewery fabricators, they will have the cones and cylinders in less than a week thereby expediting the manufacturing of the brewery.
Below is a picture of the stainless steel grain feed tank at Revolution Brewery that is an example of a stainless steel cylinder rolled on a plate roll and a stainless cone formed on a press brake. (Note: Although Chicago Metal Rolled Products regularly makes similar stainless cylinders and cones, neither of these particular fabrications were made at the company.)
This vessel is used to store the grain as it is fed into the mash tun. The mash tun is a vessel that holds the grain in hot water for about an hour. The hot water allows the enzymes in the grain to break the starches down into simple sugar that the yeast will then convert to alcohol.