Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting their fill

“It’s honking huge…”

That would be the description folks at Flying Fish Brewing offered about their new bottling line, which the Cherry Hill brewer expects to put through some test paces come Monday, a week after its arrival and installation.

We popped in last Tuesday for a peek at the new machinery and its 24-spout carousel, double the size of its predecessor. (We were at the Fish for the inaugural run of the original filler – November 1996 sticks in our mind – but a balky motor on the conveyor stymied getting beer into bottles that day.)

The new filler offers a needed speed boost (from 48 bottles per minute to 100 bottles) for the Fish, which saw output top 10,000 barrels last year. (Match that to the output from 1997: 800 to 900 bbls.) Getting some extra floor space is still in the brewery's long-term game plan.

Top speed is 150 bottles per minute, but hitting that mark requires some automation the Fish is not quite ready for.

Bye the bye, the old filler was sold to Russian River Brewing.