One of our customers is a brewery that has been making barrel-aged craft beer in its Bend, Oregon facility for more than 25 years. It has since grown to one of the largest breweries in the United States. To keep the pace and continue to provide award-winning beers, the brewery needed to implement an asset tracking system. Barrels are crucial to the brewery’s process. These barrels are reused whiskey or wine barrels, giving the beer added flavors during the aging process. At any given time, there are approximately 700 barrels in the brewery facility, where they are exposed to acids, corrosives, and caustics in wet, hot environments.
Tracking the barrels became an important step in the operations processes at the brewery. But barrel information was being manually entering into the company’s computer system, which took valuable time and was prone to errors.
In an effort to streamline and improve processes, the brewery decided to try barcoding its barrels through an asset tracking system. Asset tags with barcodes would allow easy scanning to track a barrel’s source and destination.
“We thought about RFID tracking, but it proved difficult with the close proximity of barrels,” said a brewmaster. “Barcode tracking seemed like a better option.”
The brewery found Camcode through an internet search and decided to try Metalphoto® barcode asset labels because of their durability in harsh environments. The brewery selected the .012” thickness, allowing them to affix the labels with stainless steel staples, which resist corrosion instead of traditional rivets or adhesive which would be difficult to stick to the wooden barrels.
“Our salesperson was great,” the brewmaster said. “He provided a lot of tips in regards to barcode attachment and technical details. The support we received was fantastic.”
According to the brewmaster, “the Metalphoto barcode labels are holding up and have been great thus far.”
In addition to tracking the barrels, the brewery found another benefit from the asset labels. Using the information captured in the barcode, the brewery can also incorporate tasting notes with each barrel. Here, a sensory analysis is performed and the information goes into database, which can allow formulation changes for the different beers.
“We are looking forward to the next phase of our barrel tracking program,” the brewmaster said. “We feel we can deliver a better product more efficiently thanks to Camcode’s barcode labels.”
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