Guest article

Brewery sanitation: 5 tips for brewers looking to clean up their act

By Adam Serfas, president, R.S. Quality Products

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: iStock
Pic: iStock
You’ve heard it before: the alcohol in the beer kills any germs. For a while now, this notion has been treated as being more or less adequate safeguarding for brewers as far as food & beverage safety inspectors were concerned. But, the times they are a-changing, writes Adam Serfas, owner and president of R.S. Quality Products.  

In the US in particular, sweeping legislation under the Food Safety Modernization Act​ is tightening up standards and warning of potential noncompliance penalties for food and beverage producers and processors beginning this year – and brewers, this includes you.

To keep up to code and on the good side of your food safety inspector, follow these 5 tips for brewery sanitization.

1. Keep your chemicals away from your product and​ away from each other.  

Color code your cleaning tools. Use one color for tools that come in contact with cleaning chemicals and one color for tools that touch areas that come in contact with product.  

Color code by chemical type. Use one color for caustics & acids and one color for sanitizing chemicals.

2. Ensure your cleaning tools keep to themselves.

Adam Serfas
Adam Serfas

Use high quality cleaning brushes and brooms that will not leave behind bristles that could find their way into the product. Alcohol may kill off bacteria in some concentrations, but it is unlikely to dissolve a brush bristle.

3. Make sure you have enough cleaning tools on hand.

Don’t cut corners in your purchasing budget when it comes to cleaning tools and ensuring you have enough to go around. Simply put, when you have enough tools for every cleaning job, tools are more likely to be used for their designated purpose - ensuring the best, safest cleaning process.

4. Glass in your facility? Up your cleaning standards.

Facilities that bottle beers have the occasional shattering glass bottle. Color code to be sure brooms & brushes you use to clean up glass don’t come in contact with anything else - especially your expensive tanks.

5. Set a calendar reminder for every 6 months to reevaluate your cleaning methods.

Continually reevaluate your cleaning methods and your success. Aim for every six months and involve all levels of employees in the discussion. This is vital, as missed insight can potentially lead to costly fixes down the line.

Adam Serfas is the owner and President of R. S. Quality Products​. The company specializes in sanitary, coded-coded cleaning tools, manufacturing stainless steel, aluminum and fiberglass handles in ten colors. R.S. Quality Products also serves as a distributor for several manufacturers of premium color-coded tools. The company’s customers are mostly food processors and breweries, and it works with these businesses to set up color-coding programs.