THREE CHEERS FOR PILOT SYSTEMS
by Laurence Livingston
June 1, 2020
I advise all our craft brewing clients that they should seriously consider purchasing a pilot system. Many breweries are using or purchasing pilot systems. Here are three important strategic advantages of owning and operating a full 1 bbl pilot system.
Starting up with a full pilot system is a proven way to build a brand before making the big investment in a larger system. It can be coupled with food service, a tap room/tasting concept and/or function as part of a larger long term plan for expansion to typically a 10 bbl or larger volume brewery in year 2 of operations.
Most brewers use the pilot system to test brew new beer formulas. Important sensory analysis can be done for minimal cost. Non brewing staff can be trained on the brewing process while test batching.
The pilot system brewhouse can produce sterile wort which is integral for a commercial level yeast propagation operation. Further matched with a properly fitted small yeast propagation tank the pilot system multitasks to keep your yeast fed, clean and viable. It also saves the business plenty by allowing brewers to easily build pitchable quantities of yeast from a small amount of slurry.
During the COVID 19 pandemic breweries fired up their pilot systems primarily to help downsize production while they retool for survival. Pilot systems are super useful for so many reasons, some just recently discovered.