THE world has changed at breath-taking speed in almost every sphere of human civilisation since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Where the local alcohol industries, generally, have had a gruelling time over the last two years due to the impacts of the lockdowns, bans and subsequent restrictions on the sale of alcohol locally, reduced export trade volumes and ongoing supply chain disruptions.
However, and while the local brewery market has not been immune to these impacts, it should be noted that local brews still prove to be significantly popular for local consumption and exportation. In fact, market research indicates that the local beer market was valued at 6.65 billion USD (calculated in retail prices) in 2014 – and has been forecast to reach 12.05 billion USD (in retail prices) by 2024, at a CAGR of 5.48% per annum for the period 2019-2024. Interestingly, this forecast takes the impacts of the pandemic into account and yet the forecasted annual growth rate for this period is only slightly decreased when compared to the calculated growth rate of about 6.97% per year, registered in 2014-2018.
With this positive outlook of future market growth local brewers are turning their attentions to rethinking and restructuring their plans from even 24-months ago, where maintaining business continuity and sustainability in a far more competitive and changed-consumer market has become more the order of the day.
Even prior to the onset of the pandemic and lockdown impacts, the brewery market was becoming increasingly dense and competitive. Over the last several years there has been a growing number of micro and craft or artisanal players entering the market. In turn, this has placed pressure on the industrial or mass producers to keep up with modern and shifting consumer tastes and corporate retail demands – from new flavours, fashions and fads to low and non-alcohol beers and focus being placed on product quality etc. This had led to modern facilities – from artisanal to industrial or mass production facilities – moving from having a dedicated production line for each product to an innovative multi-product line which could be processing several different liquids or flavours every day.
However, the multi-product line approach raises more challenges that every production line manager will invariably face – such as deciding how best to manage the transition from one product to another on the same line. Another potential hazard is cross-contamination, which can lead to spoiled products, shorter shelf-life, production downtime and risks to employees during the cleaning process. Finally, a multi-product line can increase the exposure risk to microbes, which present an ever-looming threat.
So, at the heart of maintaining the highest hygiene standards across multi-product lines lies the careful selection of equipment. Fit-for-purpose hygienic pumping solutions that have been designed and built to eliminate any risk of contaminants during production are necessary for producers who want to stay ahead of the variety trends. For example, throughout the production process, there are many areas where hygienic pumps with a modular design can be integrated, allowing for streamlined disassembly, cleanability and reassembly.
As the brewery industry seeks to recover financially – and to turn the challenges posed by shifting consumer demand into opportunities – processes must be reliable, repeatable and error-free. Integrating the right equipment is critical to steering through the pandemic upheaval, sustainably. The technical aspects of selecting the right pumping solutions for specific applications can be complex, as well. Brewers, therefore, should look to a trusted and reputable brand that can offer not only a wide range of pumping solutions but solutions that are long-lasting, cost-effective and efficient – because they are 100% fit-for-purpose for the application.