Chapter 17

Bottling Beer

Bottle Feeding

The first step in bottling begins with loading the empty bottles on the conveyor that feed into the unscrambling table either from a pre-pack or bulk-pack bottles.

Pre-Pack

Craft brewers often buy what is known as a "pre-pack," which includes printed six-pack carriers inserted in a printed case along with the bottles. For craft brewers, this is the most convenient and cost-effective way to go, even though it is a relatively expensive way to buy bottles.

In craft breweries, loading with pre-packed bottles is usually done manually at a rate of 80 to 100 bottles per minute (BPM). The table funnels the wide mass of bottles into a single stream. Several types of mechanisms prevent the bottles from bridging as they are funneled to a single line. These include mechanical joggers, reversing chains, and good inherent design.

Bulk-Pack

Another method, common with larger breweries and some craft breweries, automatically feeds bottles onto the conveyor from a palletized bulk pack. Bulk-pack bottles are full pallets of bottles with no cartons; rather, the bottles are separated by cardboard sheets and wrapped in plastic shrink. A de-palletizer removes the bottles from the pallet, usually a layer at a time, and places them on the unscrambling table.

Click on the following topics for more information on bottling beer.