Craft brewers, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. beer-making industry, are generally defined as smaller brewers using an innovative mix of traditional and new ingredients and techniques to produce no more than 6 million barrels annually.
Spoetzl Brewery is the nation’s fourth largest craft brewer, and although founded 102 years ago, the Shiner TX-based company uses the latest, most efficient technologies - along with its traditional, time-tested beer production protocols - to make its range of popular Shiner beer brands. Among the advanced brewing technologies Spoetzl uses are two Miura ultra-low NOx modular on-demand steam boilers, which provide multiple advantages for the unique needs of the craft-brewing industry.
“Craft brewers are getting much more savvy about boilers,” notes Jaime Jurado, Director of Brewing Operations for The Gambrinus Company Breweries, owner of Spoetzl and its sister companies BridgePort Brewery, in Portland OR, and Trumer Brauerei, in Berkeley CA. “We remember when little craft breweries were using used dairy equipment. Now there's a whole new flavor of sophistication and awareness, and it's very exciting.”
Jurado explains that he and his team first became acquainted with Miura seven years ago when The Gambrinus Company Breweries needed to replace an aging fire-tube boiler at the BridgePort Brewery. “Ours is a family-owned brewing company, and the owner Carlos Alvarez is a capable engineer in his own right who always has us focused on performance and efficiency, along with concern for the environment,” Jurado explains. “We took several competitive bids and discovered we preferred the features and compact size of the Miura LX-200. It was perfect for our needs. Miura also impressed us with their knowledge, and when it came time to replace the boilers at the Spoetzl Brewery we looked at Miura again along with the energy-conservation engineering professionals at EPS Corporation (Project Manager Steven James, P.E.).”
Jurado and Spoetzl Brewery Master Brewer Jimmy Mauric chose a gas-fired LX-200 and a dual-fuel EX-200 to leverage the advantages in having both types of Miura boilers for Spoetzl’s unique craft-brewing needs. At Gambrinus’ Trumer Brauerei, meanwhile, Jurado’s colleague Master Brewer Lars Larson also choose a Miura LX-200 boiler after evaluating competitive bids. “Miura works seamlessly with regional dealers who are specialists in installing boilers,” Jurado explains. “They made us realize that installing a Miura LX Series boiler at our Berkeley brewery would enable us to expand while also ensuring full compliance now and in the future with California’s stringent air-quality regulations and low-NOx emissions rules. Choosing Miura boilers for all our breweries also prepares us for the day when other states adopt stricter emissions standards as well.”
Multiple Miura Advantages
Employing a unique “once-through” fin-tube design, Miura boilers use less fuel and produce fewer emissions than conventional boilers. Miura boilers can, on average, save as much as 20 percent annually on fuel costs over other boiler designs. Miura boilers output reduced levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a major contributor to air pollution, as well as carbon dioxide (CO2), the most prevalent of greenhouse gases. Miura boilers accomplish this by reducing the temperature of the boiler’s flame, which in turn reduces the amount of excited nitrogen atoms available to bond with oxygen to form nitrogen oxides. As a result of this, NOx emissions are reduced to around one-quarter of what traditional fire-tube boilers emit and comply with even the most stringent air-quality regulations.
Miura’s exclusive technology produces BHP outputs comparable to much larger units, but with far less water consumption. In addition to reducing emissions and saving fuel and water, Miura’s “once-through” fin-tube design also enables Miura boilers to go from a cold start to full steam in just five minutes (or less). This on-demand steam-generation capability is well-suited to modular installations in which multiple Miura boilers can be turned on or off as needed to match load fluctuations, as opposed to consuming energy while constantly idling in stand-by. On-demand steam generation is well-suited to craft breweries because their smaller size tends to vary the schedule for such essential processes as heating, pasteurization, and CIP (cleaning in place).
“We have irregular needs for hot water for cleaning our tanks and our lines,” Jurado says. “With two Miura boilers we can choose between having them both fully fired or having one of them shut off and completely cold to the touch, instead of being on all the time, like our old fire-tube boiler. That tells you right there that we’re saving about half the natural gas we were using before. We can get full steam from our second Miura boiler in about five minutes, whereas with the old boiler it would take hours before it could provide steam.”
A modular installation of on-demand Miura boilers is also better suited to deliver the increased steam capacity needed when craft brewers experience sudden growth. Plus, the smaller footprint of Miura boilers conforms to the physical space limitations typically faced by craft breweries. This smaller size can reduce new-construction costs and better utilize existing boiler-room space.
“We like the fact that Miura’s design makes it easier if you want to add another boiler in the future,” Jurado says. “Two Miura boilers tie into the same manifold, so it’s truly modular. Their smaller physical size and reduced footprint also makes installing another Miura boiler much more feasible. The footprint of the Miura LX-200 we installed at the BridgePort Brewery enabled us to repurpose the boiler room, which had previously housed a much larger fire-tube boiler. The new Miura LX-200 that replaced it not only takes up less space, it also requires less maintenance. The brewery is now doing 50,000 barrels a year, and that new boiler will enable us to exceed that volume in the future.”
Serving Craft Brewers
Given its satisfaction with its new boilers, The Gambrinus Company Breweries are moving toward standardizing on Miura to simplify operations and maintenance procedures at its three locations.
“We have the same German bottling line, filler, labeler, and crowner in every brewery,” Jurado informs. “If there’s an overhaul our maintenance people can get on a plane and be instantly familiar with the machinery when they arrive at our other locations. It’s the same with our boilers. Our maintenance guys respect the Miuras and we now have a standardized boiler we all know. Also, what Miura provides as standard features is better than what’s offered by any of its competitors. The EX-200’s Miura Online Maintenance feature provides real-time reporting. You can extract that data and analyze it if you want to. If you were to call our individual brewmasters - Jimmy Mauric at Spoetzl, Jeff Edgerton at BridgePort, or Lars Larson at Trumer - they’d all tell you that maintenance is easy on Miura boilers, and if there’s an issue, Miura or their authorized agents are right there at the phone or at the plant.”
“We’re in the brewing business, not the boiler-making business, so we really appreciate Miura’s support network, which extends from the company’s manufacturing side to its sales, engineering, and installation side,” Jurado continues. “Miura engineer Mario Endo visited the brewery, analyzed its steam-usage needs, and asked us how we see those needs growing in the future. Then he did some calculations and recommended how we could achieve additional capacity. Miura’s Jason Smith recently did a technical conference in Texas for more than 100 craft brewery professionals on the subject of water and steam conservation and efficiency. It was extraordinary; he put a lot of interesting information ‘on the radar screen’ for us. I’m excited that Miura is ‘connecting the dots’ for craft breweries.”
“Every brewery requires its own unique steam signature, and what Miura does with its partners is to broadcast expertise and engineering-evaluation capabilities so that the customer gains the know-how of savvy local installers supported by Miura engineers,” Jurado adds. “In broad strokes, a brew house consumes half the steam in any brewery, but CIP sets, pasteurizers, hot-water sterilizing units, etc., all represent additional steam needs that have to be satisfied either continuously or intermittently. Whether the inquiring brewery is a start-up or one facing expansion planning or fuel economization, there is a Miura partner available to offer expertise and critical analysis.”
In addition to its oil- and gas-fired ultra-low NOx modular on-demand steam boilers, Miura also offers integrated intelligent water-softener monitoring technology and the BOILERMATE chemical-treatment system. The Gambrinus Company Breweries are currently using BOILERMATE at the Trumer Brauerei.
“As far as we can determine, Miura is most energy-efficient steam provider that we can find,” Jurado concludes. “Miura is cost-effective because of its comprehensive package. When you step back and say ‘Which brand is the most cost-competitive? Which gives you the best performance, best reputation? Which has the greatest support network? Which gives you the most bang for the buck?’ Then Miura owns that combination 100 percent.”
For more information contact Drew Fink, Miura Boilers, tel: 800-666-2182, www.miuraboiler.com
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