We have been discussing various aspects of beer production and brewery architecture these days. Beer, the gift of God for many, was perhaps brewed very early in man’s history, and has remained a favorite ever since. Despite the advent of different types of wines and other kinds of liquor from time to time in different regions around the world, beer has never lost its appeal among the fun-loving masses. We have talked about the history of beer making- originally it was a household product, produced by women at their homes; later monasteries and other Christian institutions started brewing the sweet-bitter beverage as a mode of payment for their necessities; and then started the industrial production of your favorite drink to cater for its ever-growing requirement.
Gravity, the guiding force
Most breweries in the early days used to have multiple storeys to make full use of the gravitational force to transfer the product from one stage to the next. Naturally, the equipment on higher floors were used earlier in the production process. Large copper vessels and lined-wooden containers were used in the brewhouse, and for fermentation and packaging respectively. However, technological advancements, especially after the industrial revolution, have completely changed the face of brewery architecture!
Technology, oh technology
Industrial revolution changed the way man perceived and executed things, and as mentioned above, brewing process and brewery architecture were no exceptions. All the technological advancements ensured that the beer production moved from a traditional, non-mechanized way to industrial way; domestic production soon became a very insignificant part of the total production of beer.
Technological advances : Brewery design, never the same again
It will be quite interesting to know about the technological advancements that changed the face of the brewing process and brewery architecture forever. Technology ensured that a brewer acquired the ability to produce the same beer consistently, and was able to produce beer round the year (previously you couldn’t make beer during summers as there was risk of harmful bacteria developing during the fermentation process). Let us have a look at some of the major breakthroughs that helped the brewing process acquire an industrial status.
Automatic stirring mechanisms and pumps
The steam engine designed by James Watt empowered brewers with automatic stirring mechanisms and pumps, giving them the ability to mix liquids (especially the mash) more reliably while heating without the risk of scorching. It also enabled them to quickly transfer liquids from one container to another. Electric-powered stirring mechanisms and pumps allow you to produce greater quantities of beer as you don’t need to rely on human power anymore.
Earlier the brewers were not able to produce beer during summer months as yeast is very sensitive to high temperature; it would impart unpleasant flavors to beer if one tried to make it during the hot season. Your favorite drink was mostly produced during winter and stored in underground cellars or caves to be used during summers. Once refrigeration machine was invented in 1871, brewers never had to worry about excessive heat and spoiling of beer. They could now produce beer year-round and always at the same temperature.
Louis Pasteur discovered microbes to revolutionize the process of fermentation. Yeast is actually a microorganism that works on wort to produce beer; scientists succeeded in isolating a single yeast cell that now allows brewers to use pure yeast cultures to pick out yeasts for their fermentation characteristics, including flavor profiles.
Modern brewery architecture
Modern-day breweries use ornamental exteriors to make them visually appealing, yet the interiors are quite simple with an emphasis on functionality. The industrial production of stainless steel on mass scale along with its multiple advantages has ensured that breweries are made predominantly of this new-age material and copper and wood are no longer used. Yes, one can see decorative copper cladding on stainless steel vessels but that is purely for a nostalgic look and feel. Pressurized steam is now used for heating in the brewhouse, though small breweries may still use direct-fire systems to save money and give their customers a feel of the past. Similarly, cooling jackets on tanks are generally used for cooling and allow brewers to control the temperatures of individual tanks.
So this is how technology has changed the entire face of brewery architecture, especially after the industrial revolution in 18th and 19th centuries. We shall continue with this interesting topic in our future posts, and also bring to you the architectural designs of some of the best breweries in the world. Keep following us!
About the author
Sandeep Singh is an architect from IIT Roorkee. He is a prolific writer and a sensitive poet. His professional posts mostly cover the future in Architecture. His books are chiefly devoted to the inner and outer battles that a disabled person in India faces every day.
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