The homebrew club that I'm in kicked off a busy day this past Saturday by attending tours of the 2 facilities listed in the title, both in Columbus, OH. I thought I'd share some of the pics. I only have these few pics that were sent to me by another member. I'll try to remember to get pictures off of my camera tonight.
Bash AB all you want, but regardless of the end products that they produce, the sheer magnitude of the facility and the technology they use is really quite amazing. Having said that, the GB tour was a hell of a lot more fun!
AB would not permit photos inside of the facility, but there are a few of the outside:
From R to L: Mirilis, HOTROD, salad419
from L to R (X=non-HBT member) X, X, X, salad419, HOTROD, nedrieke, me, brewingmama, Mirilis, Mrs. tbonecanoe, tbonecanoe, Hugh_Jass, Mrs. Hugh_Jass. (lol Mrs. Huge Ass.. I'm sure she'd love that).
At the entrance of the Brewhouse:
Some highlights of the tour included:
The new brewhouse built in 2001 with (if I remember correctly) four 3,500 bbl boil kettles. We walked up 4 flights of stairs to get to the boil/mash room floor (ie these tanks are roughly 40' tall).
The Hop Room - it was kinda small, with probably 30 or 40 full pallets of hops - which is about a 3 day supply for them. Surprisingly, there were pallisade, 21.3% Columbus (which they use in Natural and Natural Light believe it or not) and Magnum along with a lot of the varieties that one would expect to see like Hallertau, Saaz, Spalt, etc.
The Ferment house - I saw at least four 10k bbl fermenters. We went through there a bit quickly though, so I'm sure that there were more. He stated that they pull roughly 15bbl of yeast out of each fermenter after yeast has gone through 3 fermentations.
Lagering tower - We walked down a hallway then came to a split. I looked to my left and saw what was probably 100-200' of nothing but lagering tanks. Then I turned to my right and saw what was probably an additional 100' of tanks. I asked how big the tanks were, and he told us that they were each 1200 bbl. I shook my head and said "wow". Then he proceeded to tell me that there were 4 floors above us that looked just like this and that there were 327 of these 1200 bbl lagering tanks there.
Packaging - It was a Saturday so they weren't running any of the bottling lines, but there were multiple canning lines going. If you've never seen a caning line like this, it's a blur. The cans go whipping by so fast that they're just a blur.
They have robots carrying product off of the lines into staging fot truck loading. It looked like a bunch of battle bots running around all over the place. They have robotic forklifts on site to robotically load all of the trailers, but they have not yet completed the implementation of this technology yet.
They are working on completing a project to be completely self sufficient on CO2 but capturing all CO2 from fermentation and using it to carbonate.
Their utilities cost $100,000 per day.
The grain load/crush/mash/boil process is completely automated with the exception of hop additions. The control room for this may also be able to launch rockets.
They made 10.7 million bbl of beer in 2008, but were only the 4th largest volums AB plant in the US.
They make 100,000 bbl of Bud Light a week.
I'll follow up with more about the Gordon Biersch tour whenever I remember to get those pics off of my camera.
Hugh_Jass, salad419, tbonecanoe or any other MALTZ members who were there please feel free to add your impressions of the tour as well.