by Angela Sampaio, GF Piping Systems Market Segment Manager – Cooling (Eastern Region)
Cooling is the fundamental requirement for beer-making. Without it, the fermentation process cannot take place. Today’s new craft brewers are looking for, and indeed finding, more efficient as well as aesthetically improved cooling and refrigeration systems to use in the beer production process.
Good Nature Brewing, an independently owned Microbrewery and Tap Room, as well as the first ‘farm brewery’ in New York state, completed construction of its brand new 15,000 square foot facility on 5.25 acres of land. Brewing commenced in January 2017. As a farm brewery, Good Nature sources fresh ingredients for its beers from NY state farmers, drawing from local sources as much as possible.
Owners Matt Whalen and Carrie Blackmore started Good Nature Brewing and tasting room in 2012.“We basically cobbled it together with mere pennies,” laughs Whalen. “We self-funded the whole thing and did everything we could to get it up and running.”
Back then Good Nature was using pre-insulated PVC plastic piping for cooling, which was installed against the walls behind the tanks. This proved ineffective as it did not provide enough cooling. There was also always a concern that someone would bump into the pipe and break it, and there were frequent leaks.
After being open for only a year Good Nature replaced the PVC pipe with copper piping, which was the least expensive option at the time. With that came new problems. “There were a lot of issues with the insulation sloughing off,” says Whalen. “You have to be a real professional to make sure the insulation stays on properly and it doesn’t tear away from the pipe.”
Whalen and Blackmore had decided early on that being a farm brewery was part of their mission. It was just pure good fortune that New York State assisted in this mission by deciding to reward companies that used local ingredients in their beers. Beginning in 2013, farm breweries were allowed to open satellite locations and serve beer by the glass without having to get separate permitting. Whalen and Blackmore took advantage of this and opened a new tap room in downtown Hamilton in 2013, closing their original tap room and keeping the brewing process going in the original location.
When Whalen and Blackmore decided to expand by building a completely new production facility, it would be in stark contrast to their first brewery of bare bones minimum. “Our vow was to build top of the line with everything we could possibly afford,” says Whalen. Care was taken in every aspect of the design both outside, inside and in the production process. We didn’t want to deal with headaches down the line – longevity in the decision-making process was always a consideration.”