Alternative and non-alcoholic beers increasingly popular.

What does this mean for the brewing industry?
‘Dry January,’ we’ve all heard about it. For a month, we think about being more conscious about alcohol and our drinking habits. In Belgium this is better known as ‘Tournée Minérale’ which usually takes place in February. The idea of drinking no alcohol for a month has actually existed since the 1940s. At the time, the Finnish government introduced it as part of the country’s war effort. In 2014, the term was incorporated as a “trademark” in the United Kingdom. Over the years, this phenomenon has gained popularity and consumer demand for healthy and tasty alternatives increased.

A good example of these alternatives are low-alcohol beers. These have become increasingly popular in recent years as more consumers seek healthier and more sustainable options. However, brewing low-alcohol beers can pose a number of food safety risks that must be carefully managed.

Food safety in the brewing industry?
The brewing process of low-alcohol beers is similar to that of traditional beers, but with a few key differences. One of the differences is the use of “lower alcohol malt”. These malts are made from grains that have sprouted for a shorter time resulting in a lower sugar content and ultimately a lower alcohol level. The brewing process also often uses special yeast strains that are better suited for fermenting lower-alcohol beers.

Avoiding risks during brewing
One of the most important food safety risks when brewing low-alcohol beers is the risk of bacterial contamination. Beer is a fermented product that brewers make from a combination of water, grains, hops and yeast. These ingredients provide a fertile environment for bacteria to grow. For example, of harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. These bacteria, when consumed, can cause serious illness and even death. So for breweries, it is essential to prevent the growth of such bacteria. This is despite the fact that they are difficult to detect and control in a brewing environment.

Another food safety risk when brewing low-alcohol beers is the risk of spoilage. Beer is a perishable product that is sensitive to temperature, light and oxygen. These factors can cause beer to spoil, resulting in taste and odor defects. Breweries must take measures to prevent spoilage by properly storing, handling and packaging their products. They must also ensure that their products are shipped and stored under proper conditions to maintain the safety and quality of the beer.

A third food safety risk in brewing low-alcohol beers is the risk of chemical contamination. Breweries use a wide range of chemicals during the brewing process, including detergents, disinfectants, etc. These chemicals can be harmful if not used correctly and can also leave residues on the finished product. Possible measures to prevent chemical contamination include properly handling these chemicals, storing them and regularly testing products for chemical residues.

Food safety protocols minimize risks
In summary, brewing low-alcohol beers can pose a number of food safety risks. These include the risk of bacterial contamination, spoilage and chemical contamination. Breweries must implement strict food safety protocols to minimize these risks, including regular testing and monitoring of ingredients, process water and finished product for bacteria and other contaminants. In addition, breweries must ensure that their employees are properly trained in food safety protocols and follow good manner practices. This way, they can ensure consumers of safe and high-quality low-alcohol beers are safe.

Challenges brewing sector
Finally, the pandemic has also brought new food safety challenges to the beer brewing industry. For example, with the increase in online and home deliveries, the risk of contamination during transportation and storage increases. As a breweries you must ensure proper packaging and storage of beer to prevent contamination and maintain product quality. It is also essential to implement new protocols for deliveries and pickups to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to employees and customers.


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