Case Study Overview
Gritiche Brewing Company in Wiltshire was founded by and is owned by Guy Ritchie. The brewery team make a core range of both classic & contemporary ales and lagers. The production aims were ...
- An automatic bottling line for carbonated beer
- Incorporating on-bottle ink jet date coding
- Layout to incorporate the restraints of the building & space available
- Layout to be configured for maximum operator efficiency
After configuring a suitable layout, Vigo supplied, installed & commissioned a bottling line consisting of a CIMEC triblock filler with an independent ink jet coder integrated into the rinsing turret of the filler.
The Gritchie Brewing Company is uniquely placed in the craft sector in that it reveres traditions and yet is a contemporary brand. Its core range is inspired by English folklore and the celestial, each beer classified by different types of 'lore'. Styles include a classic cask conditioned ale called 'English Lore', with caramel, honey and marmalade characteristics, and contemporary styles for the 'curious', including a golden grape ale, 'Brewers Lore No. 6 - White' using 3 different grape varieties sourced from Breezy Ridge Vineyard in Dorset. Angel's Lore was awarded Silver in the SIBA South West Digital Beer Awards 2020.
Sited in a converted barn on Ashgrove Farm on the Wiltshire/ Dorset border, the 25 barrel brewery uses Maris Otter malt barley which is grown on the farm. Water is sourced from the farm's own spring, and local cattle are fed on the spent grains.
The brewing team includes Head Brewer Alix Blease, Operations Manager Kane Upton, Estate Manager Brendan Raisbeck, Sales Manager Simon Burge, Office Manager Sally Bayliss, and last but by no means least, the founder and owner (if you haven't already guessed, the clue is in the name!) Guy Ritchie.
The brewery originally only supplied beer in casks but could not keep up with demand. As part of an expansion project to bottle in-house, we were approached by the Head Brewer to discuss the requirements for an automatic bottling line for carbonated beer, to include a sterile prerinse, rinsing, filling, crown capping and date coding on the bottle. The bottles were to be custom printed, so a labelling machine was not needed. A date code on the bottle was not in keeping with the bottle design, so the brief was to ensure it was on the bottle but out of immediate sight.
The layout of the bottling line was critical due to area and operational restraints within brewery. These included height restrictions - doorways and mezzanine (the line needed to be positioned underneath an existing mezzanine floor) and floor space restrictions (due to the mezzanine support columns). For maximum operator efficiency, the line needed to be configured so that that the operator was close to both the inlet and outlet of the line itself. The height restrictions were a particular challenge, because of the height of the capping turret on the CIMEC triblock.
We produced a layout diagram to work within the project parameters. Layout revisions were made to address all the constraints. We recommended a CIMEC triblock filler with a rate of up to 2,000 bottles per hour. To ensure the independent ink jet date coder didn't increase the footprint of the line (through extra chicane and gapper wheels, etc.), we worked in partnership with Linx to integrate the printer into the rinsing turret. This required bespoke bracketry and electronics. In order to be able to get the triblock into the building and position it under the mezzanine, we removed the capping turret and remounted it once the machine was in situ.
Our engineers installed and commissioned the line and trained the Gritchie team on all operational procedures.
See the bottling line in use bottling their first batch of Angel's Lore in their Twitter video.
Since the installation, Gritiche Brewing has purchased semi-automatic labelling equipment suitable for their rotational Brewer’s Lore series. See the labelling machine in use on their Twitter video.
We asked Head Brewer, Alix Blease, the following questions ...
What impressions do you want beer lovers to stay with them after tasting a Gritchie brew?
'A lot of heart and soul goes into making every pint as well as the resources from the estate on which we are based. We aim to make a well-rounded sessionable pint which is loved by the local and traditional pubs which we serve.'
The surrounding land and its legacy (barley, water, etc.) seem to be very important elements of Gritchie Brewing's ethos. As Head Brewer, how important is 'place' to you when crafting new beers?
'Our aim is to produce fantastic, tasty and consistent traditional beers and being able to source local ingredients is key to that. We sell to the pubs within a 30 mile radius and I think they really value the fact we use ingredients from the estate we are on.'
Why did you choose us for the bottling line?
'Recommended and after researching Vigo found all positive feedback.'
What do you think of the equipment we have supplied and the service we have given to date?
'The equipment is fantastic and it was installed at the perfect time, at the very start of 2020, this meant that we could easily provide small pack beer through our website when all the pubs closed due to the pandemic.'
What's the next exciting step for Gritchie Brewing Company?
'Possibly canning and expanding into some export markets.'