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Most people don’t see the “dirty” work that goes into the brewing industry.

I’m not talking about financial or marketing shenanigans, rather the mundane, day-to-day work that goes into making and packaging beer. Anyone who’s homebrewed has a sense, of course, for the necessity to keep equipment clean and the mess than can result from a less-than-organized setup. Multiply that by a factor of “x” in a professional setting. A brewer’s regular uniform includes his rubber boots, of course, to accompany long hours of washing, cleaning, and working in cold, wet conditions. It’s a fact of life in the brewhouse – particularly the cellar.

I bumped into this article today and it reminded me of one of my early brewing gigs back in a small Bavarian Gasthof Brauerei. Part of our duties included counter-pressure fills of 2 and 5 liter glass growlers for sale over the counter. Like the safety steps being taking in the article above, we also had a plexiglas shield that we’d drop down between ourselves and each growler as it sealed on the dispenser. It seemed odd to me…until the first time I had one explode, showering me in glass and beer. I can imagine the force of a large exploding keg would be MUCH worse.

It will be interesting to see, going forward, if the cost of traditional stainless steel kegs continues to push brewers into alternatives, like plastic kegs. Obviously, those using the plastic vessels are taking some safety precautions, including the aforementioned plexiglass shields.