Below are some thought from Dust Bowl Brewing Brewmaster Don Oliver on the new Brewery Taproom and what it provides the brewery.
What was the biggest challenge?
Oliver: Transitioning from a manual brewery to one with automation. Troubleshooting is more difficult and equipment failures can take a while to resolve.
What are you most proud of?
Oliver: The performance of my brewing team during the construction, equipment installation and commissioning phases. We were operating the original brew house at maximum capacity while building the new brew house without adding employees.
What impact have you seen thus far on the brewing process?
Oliver: We achieve far superior lauter tun efficiency, better boil consistency and evaporation rate, as well as having faster, more consistent fermentation with better yeast health.
How many barrels are you currently brewing?
Oliver: Last year we brewed approximately 6,000 barrels. Our current capacity with both breweries allows us to hit 20,000 if sales allow.
What differentiates the original brewery from this new one?
Oliver: The differences between breweries are like night and day. We have more efficient utility items such as boilers, air compressor, glycol unit and cold box. The CFT brew house functions beautifully with effective and efficient heat transfer, mixing, lautering and boiling. The use of a centrifuge is improving beer quality and helping to reduce losses. Packaging has improved greatly. We have a professional grade lab, so we can continue to improve quality using quantifiable data. The move to a purpose-built facility with proper flooring makes for a better work environment. Bottling from approximately 24 12-oz. bottles per minute to 125 bottles per minute. While it will take a little getting used to for the brewing staff, the ability to have the public see our process and tour the facility will really allow beer fans to connect with Dust Bowl.
Anything else to share?
Oliver: This is only one more step for Dust Bowl Brewing Co. This facility was built with future expansion in mind and we will be able to add capacity when needed. The two facilities (original and new breweries) allow us to broaden our already diverse selection of brews. We have many new releases planned for the first year and we will continue to expand our portfolio.