Adapting to Malt Storage Changes

Initially, Icicle Brewing Brewmaster Dean Priebe and other brewers simply took inventory every week, looked at what the Leavenworth, Washington brewery was planning on brewing the next couple of weeks, and kept a large inventory.

But that has changed and adapted as the brewery has reached nearly 6,000 barrels of production per year.

The brewery originally used supersacks for base malt and bags for specialty malt. All the malt had to be stored in a very small grain room at the brewpub.

“The supersacks were raised with manual chain hoists and much of the bags were hand-loaded onto a platform,” Priebe recalled. “We added a supersack unloader with Cablevey to eliminate the manual chain hoists and added offsite storage to allow full pallet storage.”

In that growth, the brewery now has a large production brewhouse that has two silos and lots of pallet racks for malt storage on site.

Seattle’s Stoup Brewing has made improvements to its inventory system and set appropriate levels, said head brewer Brad Benson. The more than five-year-old brewery installed a silo and built a racking system to better organize and store specialty malt.

“When we opened, we chose a base malt in bags that we knew would be available in bulk when it was time for a silo,” Benson explained of the brewery, which made 5,200 barrels in 2018. “We also commonly create beers that do not use the silo at all.

Great Western premium 2-row — our silo malt — is clean and neutral, a great foundation to build many beers around. However, we have chosen not to use it at a crutch and can build recipes for styles that call for something different.”

Icicle has always focused on American and German styles of beer, but that decision was not driven by base malt ordering, Priebe pointed out.

To better track inventory, Priebe and his Icicle team employ Ekos and Brewplanner.

“This reduces the number of times we have to take inventory and allows us to keep a smaller inventory,” he said.

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