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Crafting the perfect beer and spirit through technology

Profound change is on tap for the global beer and spirits industry. With consumers around the world looking for craft beers and spirits in ever-growing numbers, craft breweries and distillers are popping up in suburbs around the country.

The number of gin and whiskey distilleries in Australia has gone from 10 a few years ago to over 100 this year. There are also more than 550 craft breweries in Australia. It is definitely a case of big dreams being made in small batches.

These local brewers and distillers with a nostalgic flair and cutting-edge technology are passionately producing small batches of the finely-brewed or distilled beverages that people crave.

To succeed, breweries and distilleries need to expand their portfolios both cost-efficiently and in line with the highest quality standards.

Digitalisation plays a key role in this process. It gives them the tools to be able to respond quickly, flexibly and cost-efficiently to current market demands, with no loss of quality. Digitalisation makes the flood of data in breweries and distilleries transparent and easy to follow: from stock receipt to shipping, from the brewing vat to management, and from product development to the glass.

Most importantly artisanal craft and digitalization are not contradictory but in fact complementary to each other.

According to Mark Avellino, Business Development Manager for Food and Beverage at Siemens Australia, who will be speaking at Digitalize 2018 on 8th August at MCG: “To attain the goal of a more flexible and economical process, digitalisation of the brewing process and equipment along the entire value chain is vital, from the receipt of raw materials and delivery of products to production and resource planning.

“If all processes are perfectly coordinated and all components of the equipment communicate reliably, the entire plant becomes more flexible, increasing productivity and ultimately reducing costs.”

For the Siemens team, Industry 4.0 and the advances that the technological revolution offers is just as important to small brewers and distillers as it is to large manufacturers.

“The increasing popularity of micro-brewers and distillers in Australia has meant that the producers need to build or invest in making the manufacturing process flexible and more efficient. Digitalisation makes it easier to adapt quickly to new market movements”

Digitalisation gives manufacturers increased visibility of the process, which allows them to respond quickly, flexibly and cost-efficiently to current market demands, with no loss of quality. In any process, collection of quality data is what drives quality decision making and Industry 4.0 is about enabling all manufacturers to unlock the full potential in their operations.

Original Equipment Manufacturer Deacam, who Siemens has recently been working on developing automation solution for equipment in a local Melbourne gin distillery Brogan’s Way says: “With craft distilling, it’s important that the variables are controlled to make sure the outcomes are the same. Automation for craft distilling is critical to enable that data capture and also the ability to produce the same product time and time again. It’s essential that what we’re using is scalable. It’s essential that one part can talk to another part. It’s important for a distillery to come along in two or three years time and add extra pieces of equipment that can seamlessly integrate into the existing automation system.”

At the heart of it, brewing and distilling is still a craft. State-of-the-art technology only makes it easier for the creators to focus on their true passion – coming up with new recipes.

At Digitalize 2018, Siemens will be presenting ‘A distilling Journey’ case study of how small manufacturers are investing in digitalization technology to prepare for better processes, operations, future scalability and great product.

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