• Strategic focus, sustainability, right-sizing, and performance give hyper-local a chance in a global economy
• Right-sizing helps streamline processes, cut costs, improve production quality
• Emphasis on sustainability reduces carbon footprint along with expenses
Industry giants like Nestle, Anheuser-Busch, and Unilever leave scant room for the little, local guy.
But there is a market for hyper-local products, and there is a way for the little guy to compete, succeed, and grow—even in the face of global conglomerate competition.
In fact, according to The Craft Spirits Data Project the craft distilling industry sold nearly 23.7% more cases in 2017 than in 2016. According to the Brewers Association the number of operating breweries grew 16% in 2017, with microbreweries accounting for nearly 60% of the craft category’s total growth. Small businesses (1-499 employees) add more net new jobs than large businesses, according to the Small Business Association.
In order for small businesses to compete, they should adopt a laser focus on adopting processes that eliminate inefficiency, maximize technology to minimize resources, and emphasize sustainability:
Strategic focus: A successful business begins with a well-defined business plan. Every business decision, including facility design, hiring, materials, suppliers, and technologies employed is then based on the goals and targets outlined in that plan.
Kona Brewing Company, a top 10 national craft brewery and Hawaii’s number one local craft brewery, is building toward serving the entire U.S. with its beer. Kona asked ICC Turnkey to design engineer a fully integrated facility that can deliver 100,000 bbls per year. The 30,000-square-foot brewery will feature a high-efficiency brewing system and canning line, saving the brewery money and positioning it to stand up well against the competition.
Sustainability: Reducing emissions, utility use, and waste also reduces costs while enhancing a company’s reputation. For one of the leading producers of hops in the U.S., Yakima Chief Hops, ICC engineered a new way to capture and reuse millions of pounds of high pressure cryogenic carbon dioxide. The company is reducing the emissions of roughly 10 million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere while reusing 85% of the CO2 delivered to the facility. Along with cutting the amount of CO2 the company purchases, this also means fewer trucks generating pollution to deliver the CO2.
ICC Turnkey’s design for the Kona Brewing Company includes a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant and a biogas system that will generate energy for reuse in the brewing and packaging operation. The Kona system will produce beer using 30% less water than industry average.
“Instead of throwing the kitchen sink at it, we use a scalpel to be incredibly precise about how the water will be treated, how bio gases will be captured and used to generate electricity, everything,” says Alex Alexandrov, vice president of ICC Turnkey. “It’s exciting for us because we know the client cares and it gives us a chance to get creative in designing the right solution.”
Right-sizing: Every process in a manufacturing production facility must be right-sized. If you don’t know how to distill a project down to the essence of what your company actually needs, you’ll waste a lot of time and money. “Our fit-for-purpose greenfield design for a deeply historied whiskey distiller frees up capital that can be invested in other departments, used to lower debts, or re-invested for its new distribution contracts in Canada,” says Ryan Coates, ICC vice president. The new distillery will be able to produce 500,000 original proof gallons of whiskey annually.
Performance: Analyze every stage of the manufacturing process to increase throughput, decrease labor utilization, and decrease utility use.
Balcones Distillery won awards for their excellent whiskey, which was produced through a literally “hands-on” and pains-taking process. “Temperature is very important in getting the right distillation, so, obviously, we wanted to design a more precise system for Balcones,” says Jeremy McCormick, ICC Controls Engineering manager. Balcones is now expanding its distribution throughout the U.S., and continues to win awards for its now much less labor-intensive whiskey.
Health and beauty product manufacturer Vi-Jon is reaping $20 million per year in cost reductions after a fitness assessment by ICC resulted in optimization initiatives in Vi-Jon’s manufacturing processes, packaging divisions, utility use, quality control, and general organizational workflow. ICC’s redesign and improvements also increased Vi-Jon’s production capacity.