A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning for Your Craft Brewery

It’s that time of year: spring cleaning season is here!

Housekeeping, cleaning, and organizing is important for all breweries, all year long. So why not take advantage of “spring cleaning season” to focus on some larger tasks that may need a little attention?

“Our number one recommendation to any craft brewery is to review their brewery insurance policy,” says Kristian Beall, AAI, of Beall Brewery Insurance.

“It doesn’t take huge changes at the brewery to shift your insurance policy from a great fit to a poor one.”

Your business may have added new equipment, broadened distribution, hired new staff, or launched new business relationships that may impact the coverage you need. Pull out your policy and give it a read-through. Make a list of questions to discuss with your insurance agent regarding coverage, limits, and premiums. Don’t forget to consider whether you have the right type of coverage; for instance, if a batch of beer is spoiled, does your policy pay you for the profit you’ll be missing out on for this unsaleable beer—or does it pay only for the ingredients used to make the bad batch?

“Your brewery insurance policy is designed to protect your brewery—but your employee policies are designed to protect your employees,” says Richard Beall, principal of Beall Brewery Insurance, which works with breweries of all sizes across the country.

“If you have added new staff, or it’s been some time since your last safety training, schedule a training session to ensure workers know the proper way to use a forklift, steps for entering enclosed spaces, and other safety procedures.”

While you’re at it, go over your policies and procedures manual and your training modules to consider whether you need to add new components, remove outdated information, or make other changes.

Then take a look at your brewery’s security policies and tactics. Common sense policies can go a long way toward protecting your brewery from theft—use deadbolts, for instance, and ensure that your brewery has good lighting inside and out—but for cyber security issues, you may need to invest in certain types of software or other tools. (A consultation with a cyber security specialist may be the simplest way for you to discover your cyber-weaknesses and determine how to fix them.)

“With a brewery’s busy production and sales schedule, we know it’s sometimes tough to establish a regular maintenance routine—but it’s just about the easiest way for a brewery to prevent equipment breakdown and spoilage and contamination issues,” says Kristian Beall.

“If you haven’t scheduled maintenance tasks on your brewery calendar, consider that one of your top spring cleaning chores,” she suggests. “Assign those tasks to staff, and make sure they get done on the timeline you’ve established.”

“That’s a great suggestion to keep your business running smoothly,” Richard Beall agrees. “And here’s another: make absolutely certain that your team is trained on liquor liability issues.”

If your brewery is found to serve underage patrons, or a guest overimbibes and ends up in a motor vehicle crash or other incident, the cost to your brewery could be tremendous. Ask yourself if it’s time to provide your team with a refresher training—or if you need to schedule mini trainings at regular intervals throughout the year.

Lastly, consider your brewery’s signage and labeling. Are you prominently displaying the posters mandated by OSHA? Is your emergency exit clearly marked? What about the chemicals you use at the brewery—are they all correctly marked?  

“Honestly, there’s no such thing as spring cleaning at a brewery. It’s not a seasonal activity, it’s a daily responsibility,” says Kristian Beall.

“But just like the New Year inspires us to make resolutions, springtime can inspire us to launch maintenance, upkeep, and cleaning projects that have gotten set by the wayside.”  

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