If you are into craft beer, it is quite possible you regularly visit small breweries in your local area. You have probably noticed their penchant for stainless-steel fermentation tanks. Well, that’s not by accident. Stainless-steel is the preferred material for breweries across the country. It offers benefits that you do not get with other materials.
For the record, breweries are not the only food and beverage operations that rely on stainless-steel. Wineries love it, too. In fact, the whole food service industry embraces stainless-steel. Visit the kitchen of any local restaurant and you will find stainless-steel prep tables, cooking stations, sinks, and on and on. Stainless-steel could very well be the most valuable material ever made available to the food service industry.
Here are the top three reasons breweries prefer stainless-steel tanks:
1. Health Code Requirements
Producing any food or beverage product requires adhering to strict health code standards. If nothing else, fermentation and storage tanks have to be sanitary at all times. There can be no exceptions. According to Cedarstone Industries, a Houston, Texas manufacturer of fermentation tanks and other brewing equipment, stainless-steel is one of the most sanitary materials in the industry.
Stainless-steel is hard, smooth, and not very porous. As a result, it is very hard for contaminants to adhere to a stainless-steel surface. Even stainless-steel tanks that may be heated for some food service processes do not offer a productive environment for contaminant adhesion. That is good in an industry that must remain vigilant about contamination.
2. Stainless-Steel Is Easily Cleaned
Hand-in-hand with being sanitary is the fact that stainless-steel is easy to clean. Again, it is an exceptionally smooth surface that is not very porous. A little warm water and a cleaning tool removes nearly all of the debris that would otherwise stick to a stainless-steel surface. From there, stainless-steel can be sanitized with a variety of solutions.
In the brewery setting, this is particularly important. You are dealing with hops, yeast, and other organic ingredients that would be problematic in tanks and vats made with other materials. When heat is involved, some of those other materials can be extremely difficult to clean.
As a side note, easy cleaning is one of the big reasons that restaurants love stainless-steel food prep tables. Stainless-steel cleans up easily with soap and warm water. Apply little disinfectant and you are ready to go.
3. Stainless Steel Will Not Corrode
The third reason is the most important to breweries: stainless-steel will not corrode. Thus, stainless-steel tanks can be combined with stainless-steel valves, nozzles, etc. to create a complete system with no worries of corrosion contaminating the product.
The fact that stainless-steel does not corrode also means it lasts a long time. A single stainless-steel tank can maintain its integrity and operational ability for decades, if not for generations. This will mean fewer capital investments for a brewery over time.
Beyond rust resistance, stainless-steel is an exceptionally durable material. For the record, stainless-steel is a ferrous alloy made with iron and chromium. Additional components can be added to create stainless-steel products for specific purposes. Those other components include nitrogen, aluminum, nickel, copper, and titanium.
The long and short of it is this: breweries prefer stainless-steel tanks because they are perfect for the job at hand. Stainless-steel is a sanitary material. It is really easy to clean thanks to its smooth profile and nonporous nature. Best of all, stainless-steel will not corrode. It is a tough and durable material that provides faithful service year after year and, potentially, decade after decade – or even longer if you’re lucky.