I dropped by the Lagunitas Brewing Co. today on my way back from a photographic trip to Cotati. I was quite literally “in the neighborhood.” I recalled that Lagunitas was planning on being closed during the month of January and would be installing a new bottling line. So I figured I’d stop in and see if either owner Tony McGee or sales director Ron Lindenbusch were around. Happily, both were in residence so we chatted for a few minutes before Tony gave me a little look-see at the new line that’s being installed.
Bottles on the new line as engineers work to install everything.
Tony shows off the combination filler/bottle washer. It was made by Italian manufacturer BC Technologies. Apparently they’re doing a lot of business with smaller brewers who cannot afford Krones’ new pricing. Other breweries recently having installed a BC bottling line inclue Saint Arnold’s, Dogfish Head, Avery, Lost Coast and Rogue.
Tony explains how it works and how he can trick it into thinking there’s a bottle on the line.
Having tricked it into thinking there’s a bottle on the line, it got to work and sprayed a jet of water in an effort to clean the imaginary bottle.
It looks like it will be finished and up and running in another week, at most. In another part of the brewery, two new 300 BBL fermenters have been installed and one more is on order. Tony reports that sales of Lagunitas beer was up 23% last year, with their tasty IPA accounting for 70% of the business.
The fermenters out back. There is now room for five more along the back wall of the brewery.