Tröegs Brewing Co. took home two medals at the Great American Beer Festival earlier this month; it won gold for its Troegenator and a bronze for its delicious Sunshine Pils. Back from Denver, the company is now focused on growing in-house production, including new fermenters, bottle fillers, canning lines — all with increased capacity in mind.
Tröegs Brewing was formally founded in 1996 by brothers John and Chris Trogner in Harrisburg, Pa., but moved to a brand new 90,000-square foot facility in Hershey in fall 2011. The new facility is about three times the size of the original brewhouse, designed to be a unique craft beer experience for Tröegs’ guests, featuring a 5,000-square-foot tasting room that opens into an outdoor viewing area with ample sights of the brewhouse. Brewery goers can observe the brewing process first-hand by taking a self-guided tour along a window-lined hallway for an up-close view of the magic behind Tröegs’ beer.
What will they see? For starters, there’s a new brewhouse, which is fully automated, manufactured by the big brains at BrauKon. Now, according to an article on pennlive.com, the brewery is rolling out a “cork and cage” bottling line, canning line and other cool production gizmos.
In addition, the brewery will add 24 fermentation tanks with eight of the tanks now awaiting delivery from Baltimore. Co-owner Chris Trogner said it is one of the brewery’s largest expansion projects since its move two years ago from Harrisburg to Hershey. A pad for the 50-foot high tanks has been prepared at the brewery off of Hersheypark Drive. Each tank will hold 800 barrels of beer, or the equivalent of 10,000 cases of beer, he said. This fall, Troegs started its “cork and cage” line bottling larger sized bottles such as LaGrave, a triple golden ale fermented with a Belgian yeast strain.
The bottling line can handle larger sized bottles that have a cork, rather than a pry-off lid. In fact, watch the video above to see the company’s new bottling line. The article also noted that Tröegs is testing a new canning line with products expected to hit retail stores around Thanksgiving. This is all on top of the new bottle filler the brewery put online in September. According to this blog post on the brewery’s website, the company’s brand new 12- and 22-ounce bottle filler is up and running, engineered from Italian manufacturer IC Filling Systems, which spent six months designing and building the filler from scratch before it made the journey from Bologna, Italy, to the Tröegs brewery. The new filler is capable of filling 230 (12-ounce) or 150 (22-ounce) bottles per minute, more than double the capacity of its old filler. One of the coolest upgrades is the special electronic pneumatic filling valves, which will greatly decrease TPO (Total Packaged Oxygen), resulting in fresher tasting beer and longer shelf life. From the blog:
“We’ve also installed a Heuft X-ray detection unit that will automatically test fill levels and crown integrity,” said Jason Knox, maintenance manager. “This will ensure that every bottle is filled to consistent levels and the crown is secure.” On a more nostalgic note, our trusty Krones bottling line was disassembled on July 29 to make room for the new equipment. According to John Trogner, it’s the end of an era. “That Krones filler was the first piece of equipment we purchased for the brewery,” he said. “We got it about a year before we opened our doors for business. She was a workhorse!” We’re happy to inform you that our old bottling line will find a new home at Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg. Goodbye, old friend!
To learn more about Tröegs’ expanding facilities and its great beers (specifically its HopBack Amber Ale), read our interview with communications manager Jeff Herb, which posted in March.