Every day, millions of bottles, cans and special-shaped containers are filled and handled on lines from Krones, particularly in the brewing industry. Since being founded in 1951, Krones has become far more than a traditional-style line manufacturer. The company has evolved to support breweries with a complete system approach for the entire production process, from brewery process to filling and packaging — Krones has a reputation stretching back to the time when Steinecker was established in the 1870s in Freising, Germany.
Today, Krones is an expert in everything from raw materials reception in the brewhouse to the fermentation and storage cellar — not to mention filling, packaging and harmonized automation — all from a single source.
The company is especially interested and excited about the craft brewing industry in North America. How do we know? We stopped by their booth at the Craft Brewers Conference and talked to Stephen O’Sullivan, product manager of process technology at Krones Inc. We asked him a few questions about Krones’ focus in the craft industry.
Craft Brewing Business (CBB): How big is the American craft brewing industry on your radar right now, Stephen?
O’Sullivan: Extremely important for Krones. As far as process technology is concerned, it has kept us busier than almost any other market, and our Kosme filling and packaging equipment is also a great fit for the craft brewing market in North America.
CBB: How does North America’s craft industry compare to the rest of the world?
O’Sullivan: It is definitely unique — in terms of meeting the production flexibility requirements that North American craft brewers want. It’s been an interesting challenge, being able to communicate to our German colleagues that, hey, if craft brewers want to do late hopping in the whirlpool, so be it. This is what we need to be able to offer — that’s flexibility and we feel we’ve met the challenge
CBB: You serve both the big and the small breweries?
O’Sullivan: Yes, we’re able to offer suitable solutions for breweries producing 30,000 barrels [bbl] per year and above and Kosme offers great packaging solutions as well.
CBB: What sort of advice would you give a craft brewer looking for a brewhouse?
O’Sullivan: I think probably the most important thing is quality. That’s what’s going to sustain the craft brewing industry into the future, and I think a lot of craft brewers already recognize this. It’s about making top quality beer. Our philosophy too when it comes to manufacturing our equipment is focused on offering quality process and filling technology and of course effective automation.
CBB: Why should a craft brewer go with Krones?
O’Sullivan: Krones has always been recognized as a quality manufacturer of packaging and brewery process technology. We’ve been known not to compromise on quality, and if the customer is interested in making quality products then Steinecker, Krones and Kosme technology is the way to go.