When craft brewery pFriem Family Brewers was looking to expand and build a modern new brewhouse at their site in Hood River, Oregon, the co-founder and brewmaster Josh Pfriem, and his management team selected GEA to design, tailor, deliver and install a five vessel CRAFT-STAR® Craft Brewhouse XL, GEA 2.5T MILLSTAR® milling system, GEA Wort Treatment Skid and GEARBOXX® Automation System.

It proved to be the best decision possible, suggests brewmaster Josh Pfriem. “The GEA brewhouse we’ve installed allows us to achieve all of our goals - boost throughput, efficiency and quality. The 145-year legacy that GEA brought to the table is more than impressive.”

Proudly crafted, humbly offered

Established in 2012, pFriem strives to produce top class craft beers. Everyone works hard to live the motto, “Proudly Crafted, Humbly Offered,” in every aspect of business. pFriem had been operating a manual brewhouse to produce their range of craft beers, but in 2019, the team decided that the time had come to expand production capacity, and update to state-of-the-art, automated processes that would increase efficiency, safety, and product consistency, but give them the versatility to generate new brews. “GEA brewhouses are tried, true, and proven, and their team is world class,” Josh Pfriem said. “This combination of legacy, technology, and team made choosing GEA an easy decision.”

Josh pFriem

The 145-year legacy that GEA brought to the table is more than impressive.”Josh Pfriem, co-founder and brewmaster, pFriem Family Brewers

pFriem was looking to configure a plant with a 50 hl wort batch volume, which would have the capacity to produce up to 10 brews of different craft beers, per day. Maintaining quality throughout the brewing process was a top priority. “At pFriem we strive to make the best beer we possibly can. In order to do so we work with the best ingredients, the best equipment, and with the best teams,” Josh Pfriem noted. 

Versatile technology for craft brewers

pFriem installation

As a truly versatile technology for craft and artisan brewers, the ready-engineered CRAFT-STAR® XL skid represented an ideal option that ticked all the boxes. The CRAFT-STAR® XL may be compact, but is packed with features, and highly versatile for producing different beers.  By utilizing GEA´s advanced brewing technologies, the CRAFT-STAR® XL can achieve the highest yields for its class, out of valuable raw materials. Constructed fully from stainless steel, the oversized CRAFT-STAR® XL brewing vessels can handle high gravity recipes without compromise, and various options for vapour condensing, hop dosing, spent grain handling, and wort cooling/aeration are available. The GEARBOXX® process control system, ensures repeatable batch production, process visualization and remote support. Integrated systems monitor differential pressure and provide full control of the lautering process.

Backed by GEA craftsmanship and renowned engineering expertise, the CRAFT-STAR® XL is supplied completely pre-piped, pre-wired and tested prior to shipping, so that it is ready for fast installation and smooth commissioning on site. “Every part of the brewhouse has been customized to our needs, to make the best pFriem beer possible,” Josh Pfriem added.  

pFriem also elected to configure a GEA MILLSTAR® wet milling system. The space saving MILLSTAR® carries out steeping, crushing and mashing–in, in a single unit. Applying a specially developed milling method and grain treatment process that contributes to higher wort quality, the MILLSTAR® technology results in faster lautering and so up to 20% time saving, which means more brews per day or per shift. A better grist structure also allows for higher loads in the lauter tun, but with the same, fast throughput, even with higher gravity recipes. 

COVID could not stop this project

Installation of the new brewhouse at the pFriem site was held up by COVID restrictions during 2020, but GEA remained on standby and ready to go, and as soon as restrictions were lifted, installation and configuration of the new brewhouse was completed, in just a month, with the plant coming on-line during December 2020. “The attention to detail that we have seen at every aspect of this project from how it was managed, to the equipment that was supplied, to how everything was wrapped and labeled for install, to the level that the installation team took to get us up and running during a worldwide pandemic has been nothing but impressive!” Josh Pfriem commented. 


The attention to detail that we have seen at every aspect of this has been nothing but impressive!" Josh Pfriem, co-founder and brewmaster, pFriem Family Brewers

“GEA’s reputation for quality, technology, attention to detail, amazing team, and a brewmaster’s approach to making beer were critical in selecting GEA not only as an equipment vendor, but as a partner for years to come,” he continued. “It has been wonderful to work with GEA as they have provided us a world class system and customer service.  We could not be happier with our system and the process to which we got here. We are very proud to partner with GEA as our equipment supplier now and into the future!”