Day 211

Some more shuffling of classes late in the semester. Today instead of a microbiology lab, Mark Benzaquen presented a microbiology lecture. Today’s topic was all about cleaning and sanitizing–why we clean, what detergents are often used, their advantages and disadvantages, and ditto for sanitation.

On to Packaging, where we learned more about the humble beer carton. Cartons can be a major expense, especially if ordered in small numbers. (Of course, you can order in greater numbers, but then you have pony up the cost months or even years before you use the cartons, AND you’ve got to find somewhere in your shop to store pallets of them where they will remain flat and dry.)

First, Doug Pengelly talked about design factors, colour choices and printing methods. Then on to materials where it turns out there are several from which to choose. Several commonly used in Canada are boxboard, B-flute corrugated cardboard (heavier and coarser material that makes for chunky corners) and E-flute corrugated cardboartd (lighter material that makes for crisper corners). Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

We also learned about glued carton bottoms versus auto-bottoms (the kind that simply snap into shape when unfolded.)

Doug also talked about labels, and demonstrated how a soaker-washer can remove old labels from bottles in only a couple of minutes using only water and caustic solution. Of course, the water has to be very hot (80°C)–he also immersed a bottle in a cold water & caustic solution, and the label was still stuck to the bottle after an hour.

Doug also demonstrated that all labels curl up label-side inwards when wet–so the important thing is to make sure to tell your commercial printer to print your labels with that curl oriented vertically–if the curl is horizontal, the label will simply pull off the bottle.

I am a label collector, so I’d simply like to know why some brewers use the “glue from Hell” that refuses to yield until the label is in little bits all over the kitchen counter.

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2 Comments on “Day 211”

  1. I agree with your last paragraph. I’m not much of a collector per se but I do like to grab the odd nice looking label to put on my beer fridge. Some are the perfect combo of great label and easily dissolvable glue. Others are amazing in their tenacity and ability to stay on the bottle even under boiling water, solvents and scrapers. THAT’S money well spent for the brewery!

    • Alan Brown Says:

      For the really tough labels (usually from Quebec) that feature a combination of paper that dissolves in water and tough glue, I resort to dry heat: place in the oven at 180F for 30 minutes. This usually melts the glue while preserving the paper. Overall, British labels seem to give me the least heartache.

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