German firms export beer-making expertise

Breweries large and small are leveraging technology and techniques honed in the beer-making powerhaus.

By Kevin T. Higgins, Food Processing

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People in China, Brazil, Mexico and other countries with growing middle classes helped drive a 50 percent-plus increase in worldwide beer production since 1996, to 1.67 billion barrels. One of the oldest and largest fabricators of the lauter tuns, brew kettles and fermentation tanks that produce that beer is Ziemann International GmbH, which lays claim to constructing the world’s first copper steam wort kettle in 1881.

Operating a high-volume, industrial brewery with fast-fermenting sugars and inexpensive starch is different than a craft brewery making small batches of highly hopped and high-alcohol beers, allows Klaus Gehrig, managing director and CEO at Ziemann, and that is reflected in the automation the company uses. Regardless of size, the tanks used and the need to respond to consumer demands for a broader portfolio of beer styles are similar, and that puts a premium on production flexibility.

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