Project management methodology simplifies kombucha operation expansion
Boochcraft Brewery, a California-based specialty brewing company, expanding their operations to meet growing consumer demand for their kombucha product.
In 2019, Boochcraft Brewery, a California-based specialty brewing company located in Chula Vista, was excited to see their consumer base enjoying the brewery’s hand-crafted kombucha. This growth expedited the need to expand the company’s operations beyond its existing single location to keep up with the welcome demand. They purchased a second warehouse and contracted with Automation Group to work on developing the design, controls and solution necessary to automate the facility’s kombucha brewing temperature control process and increase production.
Phase 1 – Testing
Program simulations and factory acceptance tests (FATs) were run on the existing 20 tanks. The tests were conducted to identify and correct potential problems or other technical issues that could impede the new operations. In this initial two-month phase, the team also researched the industry’s technology, inspected the newly purchased warehouse to determine its operational suitability and focused on automating the heating and cooling temperature controls with built-in redundancy to ensure they did not lose entire batches of kombucha should any part of the system go offline during the brewing process.
Phase 2 – Automation
Upon testing completion, the project team began automating and implementing the juicing system. This six-week effort involved adding a juicing system for citrus and other produce. Once the automation was completed, the juice was transported into juice tanks for storage and later infused with the kombucha.
Phase 3 – Capacity building
In the final phase of the project, the team increased the number of 100-barrel tanks—each accommodating roughly 3,100 gallons —from 20 to 40 over a six-week period, thereby doubling the amount of brewing capacity.
FATs were conducted at each phase of the project prior to commissioning to the next phase to ensure all systems and processes were installed, tested and operationally functional.
This industry-standard project management approach enabled the team to expand and fully automate the kombucha brewing process, all while ensuring system redundancies and quality controls were built into the solution.
Expanding the brewery’s operations at the second site resulted in increased kombucha production and a reduction in the brewery’s labor costs, as they were able to re-allocate employees to other parts of the business. This allowed the company to ensure product availability and ultimately grow operations outside California.