Experts Supply Craft Brewers and Distillers with Pumps That Set Products in Motion
By: Cheryl Gray
Choosing pumps for breweries and distilleries requires consideration of several factors, perhaps none more important than technology. That technology is what propels the liquids that create a successful product for the beer and spirits industries.
When it comes to the ever-changing line-up of products, advanced pump technology is taking the lead in which products find their way into brewery and distillery production lines.
Ampco Pumps Company is one of the manufacturers providing state-of-the-art technology in its pump products. An ISO 9001:2015 Registered Company, Ampco is a spin-off from the original firm, founded in 1914 and headquartered in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it manufactures products. Ampco has regional offices throughout the United States and also an international sales, assembly and light fabrication plant in Germany. Additionally, as part of The Krones Group, Ampco Pumps Company has leveraged its position as a member of a global team serving the food and beverage industries.
Ampco Pumps Company has been providing quality centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps worldwide for more than 70 years. It is committed to manufacturing quality products, providing excellent customer service and competitive pricing to its customers. It has become the preferred pump provider for some of the most recognized companies across the globe.
For breweries, Ampco says it focuses on maximizing efficiency and portability by engineering pumps that have been incorporated into Ampco carts. The company explains how its carts are tailored to each customer’s specifications and can accommodate any Ampco centrifugal pump, positive displacement pump or blender. It also boasts a wide variety of products to meet the challenges of small and mid-sized craft breweries.
Bob Garner is the engineering manager for Ampco. With more than 30 years of engineering experience with C Series and centrifugal pumps, Garner is very familiar with the challenges that craft breweries face.
“Ampco was hearing from craft brewers about a common leaky pump issue when pumping hot wort,” he said. “They were all using a standard C Series, and it did not matter the brand of pump. So, I looked into the issue closely to find a solution. The result was the development of the CB+ Craft Brew pump, which solved the problem.”
Garner describes why Ampco’s CB+ is so popular among its craft brewery clients.
“It was designed to solve a problem that no one else in the industry was working on,” he said. “The CB+ solution reduces lost product, is easy to maintain and has proven to have longer seal life than a standard C Series, which saves money in the long run. There are also conversion kits available to convert standard C Series to the CB+. The response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Ampco touts its high priority on pre- and post-sale customer service for its clients. Garner adds that the company’s reputation in this area plays an important role in its growth.
“Providing superior customer service is part of our mission,” he said. “Quick response times from knowledgeable representatives and trained engineers in real time is part of the advantage of working with Ampco. It has been an important part of what put us on the map and how we continue to grow.”
Many of Ampco’s products can be customized to ensure accuracy when it comes to mixing and blending applications. One of those products is the ZPI Positive Displacement Pump. While the product is manufactured to meet the needs of wineries, the company touts it as tough enough for the demands of breweries, including spent yeast with hop material. The ZPI can also handle product handling for harvesting yeast, propagation skids, feeding a centrifuge and cone-to-cone transfer.
FLUX Pumps is another industry leader. FLUX Pumps made its mark when the first electric pump was introduced to the marketplace in 1950, and the name bore the moniker FLUX. Soon after, the company launched the first explosion-proof drum pump for use in hazardous areas. In the decades since, FLUX Pumps has paved the way as one of the frontrunners in drum and container pumping technology.
The company has its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Germany. It has global ties that include six subsidiaries and a comprehensive roster of distribution centers that give FLUX the ability to service clients in more than 100 countries. FLUX Pumps also operates corporate offices in the United States, Belgium, India, Thailand, the United Kingdom and France.
Glenn Mulligan is the president of FLUX Pumps North America. He explains how pump performance helps keep production lines running efficiently. He says his product advice is the same for all craft breweries. Product longevity and performance play important roles because the duo increases productivity by shifting tasks that used to be done by hand to automation.
Recent product releases by FLUX Pumps include the VISCOPOWER product line. These pumps phased out the company’s F550 and F560 pump models.
The newer design was created for easier assembly and dismantling, a change that reduces cleaning and maintenance while simplifying the pump design. VISCOPOWER pumps are designed with a modular configuration that allows for streamlined spare parts, while at the same time, offering a customizable pump design.
FLUX Pumps also offers flow meters and control panels, which can turn a standard drum or tote pump into a one-touch batching/metering system. This technology eliminates the guesswork of dispensing the right amount of product. As Mulligan explains, adding just a few components to a pump can help FLUX Pumps customers come away with an accurate, repeatable dosing product that saves clients time and money by reducing costly mistakes.
Distillers have some of the same challenges as brewers when it comes to choosing the right pumps to get the job done. Todd Thrasher is the founder and owner of Potomac Distilling Company, located in Washington, D.C.’s waterfront District Wharf. In business since 2018, the industrial distillery is the headquarters for Thrasher’s signature Thrasher’s Rum, which is sold in island-inspired flavor profiles, such as white, spiced, coconut, green spiced and gold.
Thrasher knows a thing or two about what pumps and accessories he needs to create his products, while at the same time ensuring a work environment that is both safe and productive. For transferring high-proof spirits, Thrasher’s Potomac Distilling Company prefers the SimpleSpirits 49 Air Diaphragm Ethanol Transfer Pump.
“I purchased this pump first because I knew it would handle high ethanol spirits,” he said. “It has been a great piece of equipment in the distillery. I made this specific selection upon research and other industry recommendations.”
The pump is manufactured by Versamatic, headquartered in Mansfield, Ohio. One of Versamatic’s key suppliers is TCW Equipment, which is in California’s Sonoma Valley. In business since 1966, TCW Equipment is a supplier to multiple areas of the beverage industry, including breweries and distilleries.
The SimpleSpirits 49 pumps are ATEX-rated, which means that, when used as instructed, they comply with all safety regulations that govern atmosphere explosive devices. The pumps are equipped with EPDM diaphragms, which are durable and compatible with ethyl alcohol. In addition, the pumps run entirely on compressed air, therefore reducing the threat of static discharge from electrical equipment that could cause fires when encountering flammable vapors. Finally, the pumps can be connected to a ground source in the distillery, ensuring that any naturally occurring static build-up is discharged into the ground.
For low-proof spirits, Thrasher looks to McFinn Technologies out of Kenosha, Wisconsin for its 22060, a self-priming, multiple-speed and reversible-flow direction pump with a standard wireless remote control.
“This pump was purchased shortly after Potomac Distilling Company opened as I realized that another pump was needed – this is made to move wash that isn’t overproof,” he said. “And it gets used before spirit runs to move the fermentations over to the still.”
The pump’s three-horsepower version features a 1750 TEFC motor and NEMA 4 VFD with a standard stainless-steel cart. This model also features voltage options. Additional pump models by McFinn Technologies include the 20035, 20035CC and the 30080.
There are multiple choices for distilleries and breweries when it comes to choosing pump products and accessories. The decision-making comes down to price, productivity and safety protection in the workspace. Expert companies with years of engineering and scientific knowledge can help. Combining that knowledge with years of experience working with clients in the production of spirits and beer can go a long way toward helping breweries and distilleries make the right moves to move their products to the market.