For more than 160 years, demanding brewmasters around the globe have been brewing beer with equipment from Ziemann. From the brewhouse to the bright beer tank cellar, Ziemann can plan, manufacture and install all of the machines, vessels, and systems necessary for brewing outstanding beer. The German powerhouse is a one-stop shop for breweries around the world, but today, Ziemann USA has its eye fixed on the craft brewing industry, so we sat down with Ralph Schneller-Reindell, Ziemann certified project manager and IPMA sales director, at the Craft Brewers Conference to discuss the company’s outlook and its products for the American craft beer industry.
Craft Brewing Business (CBB): Tell us a little bit about Ziemann, your rich history and your interest in the craft brewing industry today.
Schneller-Reindell: Ziemann is a 160-year-old company. In our original history, we built brewhouses out of copper. In 1988, we bought Helmut Bauer — a tank builder. In subsequent years, we transformed into a company that’s specialized in complete breweries. We help build breweries all over the world — some of the biggest breweries in the world. Since the craft brewing market has been growing in the last 10 years, we decided to focus on that since generally issues are the same with complete brewhouses. Last year, we sold more than 170 tanks in the U.S. We developed as one of our products the Cascade model – a modular brewhouse starting with a three-vessel brewhouse and being able to be upgraded to a four- or five-vessel brewhouse. That’s basically the way we’re going into this market. We got all of our contacts out of the tank business and tried to use our experience in the long-term history of Ziemann and our worldwide experience with all kinds of brewing issues – from temperatures to earthquakes, whatever — and helping craft brewers out of these issues.
CBB: I’m sure there are many issues you can help some of these craft brewers with. What’s your footprint like in America?
Schneller-Reindell: Like I said, in the tank business we are pretty large, but in brewhouses at the moment there is unfortunately only one that we built about 10 years ago in Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin at the Leinenkugel brewery. But we just got the information today that a craft brewer has restarted a Ziemann brewhouse that was manufactured in 1963.
CBB: That’s amazing. Your brewhouses last a while then?
Schneller-Reindell: Absolutely. I can’t tell you too much because we just received the information today. They contacted us and wanted to have some technical drawings delivered to them, which we obviously sent, but we’ll keep you updated.
CBB: Sounds like a future story, but today, you can basically be a one-stop shop for craft breweries.
Schneller-Reindell: We have everything they need — if there is just a single vessel expansion for an existing brewhouse or a complete brewhouse. We also can do upgrading like with a lauter tun or the wort kettle with a new boiler or installing an automated system, including a CIP. We do it all.
CBB: Where are you based in America?
Schneller-Reindell: We have one office in Miami and we have Udo Funk, sales director of North America in Minnesota.
CBB: What advice would you give someone looking to buy a new brewhouse? What things should they know? What ideas do they need to figure out before approaching companies like Ziemann?
Schneller-Reindell: First of all, they need to know their yearly output and what kind of production rate to calculate the brew size. Another important issue is the layout — what area do they have? Is it completely from scratch or is there a hall existing or some other facilities? If there are some special techniques, we need to know. Normally, with craft brewers is the hop dosing and hop removal. Is this something that they need? And they also need to think about how they want to divide the project. Do they need one turnkey project? Brewhouse, water, utilities – is everything needed? Or is this just the brewhouse? I think these are the basics, and out of this we’ll develop a common idea together.
CBB: Do you see any trends from craft brewers? You mentioned the hops dosing and removal – do you see anything else out there on the market that indie breweries are demanding?
Schneller-Reindell: The biggest issue and the biggest difference from standard brewhouses that we sell in the last years are the hops issues. Hop dosing and removal is completely different from the brewhouses in the rest of the world.
CBB: In the rest of the world, is there any sort of craft industry like this?
Schneller-Reindell: Not strong like this. It starts at the moment a little bit in Latin America and in Europe there are some people also, but they are more kind of microbreweries. I think the big difference in the United States is the distance they have. Most craft brewers start directly right away with a bottling and packaging hall, so when they expand they already have this — so the bottling, packaging and logistics are already done, so it’s not a big problem to expand them. In Europe, the distances are a lot smaller. A lot of small breweries start like brewpubs, and then it’s a huge step going out of town and having the logistics setup for those issues. I think that’s the biggest difference.
CBB: Why should these craft brewers here choose Ziemann? What do you offer that other brewing manufacturers do not?
Schneller-Reindell: I think at the moment we have the most innovative package for a brewhouse. We have a new agitator. We have a new boiling system. We have a new lauter tun system. We’re the only manufacturer and supplier on the market that could either use a lauter tun or a mash filter. The mash filter is not very common in the craft brewing scene, but nevertheless we have it in our portfolio. We also have our energy system, so we have a lot of innovations right now. And so you know, we do 50-barrel [bbl] brewhouses and upwards. A brewery that is targeting a 100,000 bbl system that can be done with us. If the brewery is going to a final production of 30,000 bbl, we’re probably not the right partner. Not at the moment at least.