​Why Quality Assurance is Job No. 1​

Jared Williamson​ noted in a Q&A interview with Brewer that the craft beer​ industry ​is still learning so much on the science side of things​.

It’s true, you hear of how different yeast strains interact with different hop varieties and their compounds, how different malts impact shelf stability​ and do forth all the time in each batch brewed across the country.

Schlafly Beer​ has​ an in-house Quality Control/Assurance lab team that helps stay on ​its front foot when the St. Louis brewery comes to quality and consistency.

​”​We as an industry are continuing to build such an amazing knowledge base, and it is a really fascinating time to be in beer​,” Williamson said.​

Using that knowledge has led to Bent Paddle Brewing ​staying committed to having its unpasteurized product kept and delivered cold at all times to ensure quality.

“We call it our “Commitment to Cold,” said Head Brewer Charlie Brodell, “and we now put it on all of our packaging.”

Yes, it can lead to some lost sales when a retailer can’t promise that commitment to the standards, but it’s better for the consumer in the long run, Brodell said.

“Knowing your geographical footprint allows us to have better control of the product that we want in our consumer’s hands,” he said.

As Head Brewer, ​Cape May‘s Brian Hink is​ constantly looking for ways to improve ​the New Jersey brewery’s beer​. He works​ very directly with ​the brewery’s ​lab ​manager ​tech on all things quality related​. That​ includes​ monitoring yeast health and generations.

“When do we need to propagate a new generation? How far can we stretch the current strain,​” he asked in some example situations in an interview with Brewer. ​He also said working to troubleshoot packing line issues like high TPOs and monitoring ​a packaged beer library, monitoring core brands for potential flavor drift ​versus​ true-to-brand, ​along with other ​day-to-day QA/QC checks​ are all in his repertoire.​

​”We’ve put a big focus on quality, constantly reinvesting into quality control measures and lab equipment, but more importantly — personnel​,” he added​​, noting that as the brewery grew, he was ​able to ​justify​ needing a lab tech​.

“Now we have two dedicated full-time lab techs and could probably justify adding another one or two in the next year as we continue to grow​,” he said.​

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