Using ozonated water in beer breweries lets customers enjoy safe and perfectly brewed beer without the risks of using chemical disinfectants
The United States has a long history of beer production, with the first brewery dating back to the 17th century. In 2020 around 180 million barrels of beer were produced in the United States. In fact, the US is the second-highest beer manufacturer in the world behind China, producing a staggering 211.17 hectoliters — or around 70 standard bathtubs last year. But that doesn’t mean the beer that ends up in our glasses is always fresh, or even safe to drink. Cleaning and sanitizing beer brewing equipment is an important — and much overlooked — part of enjoying a cold glass of brew. And ozonated water is playing a big role in this process.
Breweries face sanitization challenges in beer production
Clean-in–place (CIP) is a process of disinfecting brewing equipment without having to disassemble each part of the system. Most breweries choose CIP over traditional disinfection methods as it is quicker and more efficient. CIP is an automated disinfection process that removes the risk of human error by getting to those hard-to-reach places. But the process carries risks that are prompting breweries to look for an alternative.
But CIP is an expensive, energy-consuming process, as large amounts of water must be heated for the best-possible results. It also uses traditional disinfectants that can leave behind traces of chemical residue after use. Residue goes unnoticed by brewery staff, but can be harmful to consumers, especially as it causes the growth of microorganisms and biofilms. This can affect the quality and taste of beer and impact the brewery’s brand image.
Breweries should use high-quality water that is filtered of any impurities to brew their beer, as this has a direct impact on the end product. Limescale, beerstone, mold, and yeast can build up in water lines, affecting the smell, taste, and appearance of beer. For best results, water lines should be sanitized around once a week. Spoilage creates a huge problem for breweries, as equipment must be manually sanitized before production can restart. This is labor-intensive causing delays to the brewing schedule and headaches for breweries.
Using traditional disinfectants poses a health risk to workers, as they will have to breathe in toxic fumes and handle corrosive chemicals. Chemical disinfectants must be properly stored to avoid injury, explosions, or fires, even when not in use.
This is troublesome for breweries, as they must spend time and money on creating a safe storage space instead of focusing on how to brew great beer. What’s more, staff must be properly trained on how to use and store chemicals, as breweries are responsible for staff safety. Injury or health issues from chemicals can have a detrimental effect on breweries, as they feel the burn from employee sick days and potential lawsuits.
What is ozonated water?
Ozone is a form of oxygen and is a highly effective, natural disinfectant. Ozonation is a chemical water treatment involving the infusion of ozone into water, one which kills bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in the process. Ozone reforms into oxygen molecules after the ozonation process, and unlike other chemical disinfectants, does not leave behind an unpleasant aftertaste or odor. Its oxidation power, or ability to react with other substances, is 50 times stronger and 3,000 times faster than chlorine, and it does not leave behind any harmful residue.
Ozone is perfect for CIP and beer production, as it quickly dissolves contaminants without changing the beer’s composition. There is no risk of spoilage resulting from bacteria growth, as no residual ozone or other compounds are left behind. It is non-corrosive and removes the need for chemical disinfectants, making it the perfect sanitizing solution for breweries who are concerned with creating a great-tasting product without harming customers.
How is ozonated water used in breweries?
Aqueous Ozone is easily integrated into CIP systems, removing the need for harmful chemicals. Being a non-corrosive disinfectant, it will not damage brewery equipment. CIP using ozonated water does not require human intervention. Ozone disinfects all areas without leaving behind any harmful residue, lightening the load for brewery staff.
Sanitizing supply water and washing between production
Beer lines are bacteria breeding grounds. Chemical disinfectants can hinder the sanitization process, as residue creates a buildup of microbes and biofilm. Sanitizing beer lines with ozonated water, or aqueous ozone, is the perfect alternative to chemical disinfectants, as 99.999% of contaminants are killed on contact. Since there are no harmful forms of residue or byproducts to worry about, using ozonated water in CIP improves the cleanliness of beer lines while protecting customers.
Breweries tend to produce multiple varieties of beer under one roof. Aqueous Ozone is suitable for freshening up beer lines between production to prevent the cross-contamination of beer varieties, and it removes the need to manually disinfect each part. As ozonated water is a highly effective sanitizer, cleaner pipes can only mean one thing: safer, better-tasting beer for customers.
Ozonated water can be used to surfaces. It is free of alcohol and chemicals, and is safe to use on hands and skin without causing irritation or dryness, making it an ideal alternative to chemical disinfectants.
Benefits of using electrolytic ozonated water in breweries
An energy- and water-saving solution
Performing the process of CIP with traditional disinfectants requires large amounts of hot water. Ozone is highly effective even in cold water, reducing energy costs for breweries. With ozonated water, disinfection cycles can be reduced by up to 30 minutes per round of CIP, significantly reducing the amount of water used for sanitization. In fact, using ozonated water saves breweries up to 10% of their standard water consumption.
Ozone helps breweries save time, money, and energy, while providing outstanding disinfection. Plus, electrolytic ozone is better than corona discharge method because all you need is water and electricity, reducing maintenance needs and keeping the ability to reliably produce ozone in humid conditions. Plus there’s no need for a potentially dangerous oxygen tank. The OWS-3 from BioSure is a plug and play device for this situation, delivering a complete disinfection solution to bars.
Fast and easy to use
Ozonated water takes approximately 10-15 minutes to reduce bacteria that can spoil the beer without leaving behind any nasty residue that can impact the flavor. The process is quick and easy, and completely removes the need for chemical disinfectants.
No storage required, safe for staff
Ozonated water is produced onsite, requiring no additional storage. With ozone, breweries no longer have to create extra storage space or worry about chemical spills.
The ozonation process does not emit harmful byproducts, and ozone is not toxic if accidentally inhaled or swallowed. Brewery staff need no longer be concerned about breathing in dangerous disinfectants or getting painful chemical burns. Ozone is a friendlier sanitization alternative that greatly improves the health and safety of staff.
The bottom line
Running a successful brewery is no easy task. CIP using dangerous chemicals is risky and can cause harm to staff and customers. The disinfection properties of ozonated water remove the need for chemicals, providing outstanding disinfection results with reduced water usage. With ozone, breweries can save time, money, and energy, while creating an excellent product for customers. Talk to us today to find out how to integrate our ozonated water technology into your brewery.