HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FLOORS FOR YOUR BREWERY
Did you know there are more than 19,000 breweries in the world? In the U.S., there are more than 8,000 breweries ranging from major players to microbreweries, regional breweries, and brewpubs. While there are big differences between a large, industrial brewery and your local, neighborhood brewery, a few things are critical to all brewery operations: cleanliness, safety, and uninterrupted productivity. Floors are essential to all of these factors, so it is important to choose the right flooring systems and installers.
Let’s start with where the magic happens, where beers are brewed. Floors for these areas need to stand up to spills and moisture, caustic cleaning chemicals, hot water washdowns, organic acids, impact, abrasion, and wear and tear from constant foot and wheeled traffic. Any gaps, cracks, or breakdown of a floor leaves a brewery open to bacterial growth and contamination as well as other safety hazards. Poured-in-place, non-porous, resinous seamless floors are a key factor in sanitary design and keeping your brewery up and running.
Seamless floors are easy to clean because every area of the floor can be accessed without spaces for dirt to deposit or organic matter (and therefore bacteria) to harbor and grow. A seamless construction makes for faster cleaning and easier maintenance, which also save you time and money. A high-performance flooring system will not break down due to cleaning chemicals, acids, or the necessary hot water washdowns that cause rapid changes in temperature. This rapid temperature change can result in thermal shock, and if the floors installed are not formulated to withstand such conditions, they will fail and it will be necessary to repair or replace the floor.
Another important factor in brewery hygiene and safety is the elimination of pooling water. Pooling water can cause a host of issues in your brewery including failure of FDA/3rd party audits, potential bacterial growth, and slip-fall hazards, any of which can cost money, production time, and damage to the brewery’s reputation and brand. The cost of doing nothing will be far higher than addressing the potential issue from the start.
It takes expert installation to make sure a floor is properly sloped to drains so that liquids can be quickly removed from the floor’s surface. Be sure your floor installer has proven experience in brewery environments. Not all commercial drains are made equally. They vary in design and shape. If water and materials sit in the drain of your brewery, it is also a sanitation and contamination issue. A brewery flooring expert should be able to make recommendations and set up a coordinated floor and drain installation.
Sanitary design is not new to beverage manufacturers, since standards must be met and inspections passed. Product and consumer safety as well as their brand reputation are at stake. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene is even more top-of-mind for breweries. Some beverage processors are taking the extra step to apply an antimicrobial additive to their floors to block a broad range of bacteria and fungi.
Finally, a brewery floor must be slip resistant to protect employees and customers and touring patrons. Slip resistance is achieved with texture, but the higher the level of texture, the more difficult the floor is to clean. A flooring expert can work with you to select the appropriate level of texture needed for various areas of your brewery.
Recommendations for back-of-house brewery areas:
Walk-in Coolers: Polyurethane flooring system or Methyl Methacrylate flooring system
Bottling Lines: Polyurethane flooring system
Warehouse: Epoxy flooring system
Packaging Areas: Epoxy or urethane flooring system
What about tasting rooms and front-of-house spaces? These areas also need to be clean and safe but will not require the same heavy-duty level of protection against impact or thermal shock. For touring areas, tap rooms/tasting rooms, lounges, gift shops, and restrooms, you will need flooring that is easy to clean and maintain, stands up to heavy foot traffic, resists stains and spills, and provides slip resistance. In addition, you’ll want floor design that attracts and delights your visitors. Decorative flooring can create an atmosphere you desire by offering different colors, patterns, finishes, or even custom effects like logos to show off your brands. Decorative, commercial flooring comes in many offerings, but it must be manufactured with all the performance factors you need to ensure both its functional aspects and decorative properties last without need for repair or replacement for many years.
Recommendations for front-of-house brewery areas:
Lounges: Resilient urethane flooring system
Restrooms: Textured epoxy flooring system
Beer Gardens: Exterior urethane flooring systems
The key to choosing the right floor for your brewery is working with a company that not only has tested and proven products made for brewery and beverage spaces, but has successfully completed many brewery installations. The flooring company you work with should be able to provide references/case studies, custom options, service from the first site visit to the final walk-through, and a warranty to cover products and installation.
Stonhard installs all its floor systems using experienced and trained application crews. We have local Territory Managers and a construction management group to ensure expert project management. With nearly a century of experience in manufacturing and installing seamless floor, wall, and lining systems, our systems are trusted to be durable, seamless, sanitary, attractive, and long lasting. Ask us about the breweries we’ve worked with both small and large throughout the U.S. and around the world. Call 800-257-7953.