In October 2016, mechanical engineering company GEA delivers its first CRAFT-STAR™ 4-vessel brewhouse to Washington, D.C. The system is scheduled to begin commercial operation early next year. The customer is DC Brau Brewing Company, a highly renowned manufacturer of craft beers in the U.S. capital.

The CRAFT-STAR™ is specifically designed for medium-sized specialty breweries with batch sizes of 40 hectoliters (35 U.S. barrels) hot wort. The system was previously equipped with two or three vessels (mash tun kettle, lauter tun and combined whirlpool/wort kettle – depending on the configuration) and has been retrofitted with a separate whirlpool by the GEA brewery experts in Kitzingen/Germany. Now, up to seven brews a day are possible. The basic configuration already allowed for five brews a day. The CRAFT-STAR™ is preassembled and tested in Kitzingen as a compact plug & play system with process piping, instrumentation and a semi-automatic control system. Commissioning on site just takes a few days.

Due to the large share of high-quality special malts in use at most craft beer breweries, the extract efficiency of the brewhouse, based on the lauter tun efficiency, is essential to business success: The extract yield of up to 98 percent makes the CRAFT-STAR™ a leader in this discipline. “We are truly impressed with the plant’s capacity," says Jeff Hancock, co-founder of DC Brau Brewing Company. “We were searching for a versatile brewhouse suitable for the efficient production of high-quality beer for our growing brewery." The products include the award-winning DC Brau creations “The Public”, a classicAmerican Pale Ale, and “The Citizen”, a Belgian-Style Blond Ale. Brandon Skall, founding partner of DC Brau Brewing Company, adds: "The CRAFT-STAR™ system will allow us to continue to expand distribution of our award-winning flagship beers, while giving us the flexibility to experiment with new beer styles and recipes.”

“Since the market launch two years ago, the CRAFT STAR™ has been popular big hit," says Andreas Holleber, head of the GEA brewery business. “We now get orders from all around the world. Right now, we are also installing a brewhouse we designed as a complete plant together with other components for a South Korean customer." Other orders are taking GEA brewing experts to South Africa, Belgium and Hong Kong. The United States have a very creative, lively and professional specialty beer scene making them the key market for GEA craft beer plants. Half of the plants designed and manufactured in Kitzingen already went to the United States. GEA installed the first CRAFT-STAR™ in 2015, for The Bruery in Placentia, California, one of the top players of the craft beer scene in the United States. Beers produced using the CRAFT-STAR™ received several medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.

The CRAFT-STAR™ benefits at a glance:

  • Flexible and versatile brewhouse design with a cast-out quantity of 40 hectoliters (35 U.S. barrels) for up to seven brews per day
  • Consistent focus on specialty beers and maximum versatility through oversized vessels and select GEA technologies
  • Preassembly and testing at GEA keeps project times short and allows fast installation as well as low cost on-site services
  • The plant design is global, earthquake resistant and ASME compliant for variable voltage and steam supplies
  • Clear media interfaces ease integration of existing equipment
  • Complete control over the lautering process thanks to differential pressure measuring and proven GEA technologies for extremely high extract yields of up to 98 percent
  • Reliable, constant brewing outcome through intelligent automation with GEARBOXX™, including recipe database, brew evaluation and management, as well as remote support
  • Small footprint saves space in the brewhouse
  • Polished or matte blasted vessel cladding for an attractive appearance

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