Formed after the merger of Huppmann and Tuchenhagen Brewery Systems in 2009, GEA Brewery Systems is a supplier of world-class brewery equipment. As part of the GEA Group, the company has global reach and co-operates with some of the most recognisable brands as well as mid-sized breweries, offering not just the systems themselves but engineers and project managers to oversee installation. Withextensive experience in the industry, the company is currently looking, in concert with clients, at developing more environmentally friendly systems.
The history of GEA Brewery Systems stretches back to 1874 when Huppmann was founded as a familyrun business for building and supplying brewhouse equipment. During a 130-year history, it became one of the most popular brewhouse suppliers before being acquired by the GEA Group in 2006. Since that time Huppmann has been working closely with Tuchenhagen Brewery Systems, which was set up in 1998 as part of international pump and valve manufacturer Tuchenhagen to be its foothold in the brewery industry. In 2009, after years of close collaboration, both companies were merged into the GEA Group.
Dirk Hämling, CEO of the company, details what this merger meant: “This combination of expertise on both cold and hot processes of beer production represented a joined-up offer for the market. Despite belonging to the same group, both Huppmann and Tuchenhagen Brewery Systems were operating as separate businesses, but now that they have formed GEA Brewery Systems the combined offer is stronger than ever.”
The GEA Group is a multinational conglomeration that is heavily involved in the food and food processing industries. It is made of five major segments: Farm Technologies, Heat Exchangers, Mechanical Equipment, Process Engineering and Refrigeration Technologies. Brewery Systems is part of the group’s Process Engineering segment.
As part of the GEA Group, the company has solid footing from which to spread its services throughout the world. The group is represented in over 50 countries worldwide through more than 250 subsidiaries worldwide, many of which are leaders in their respective fields. GEA Brewery Systems it itself one of these market leaders of course with its equipment used at some point during the beer production process in almost half of all beer production worldwide.
“The company develops innovative solutions tailored to customer-specific economic and ecological requirements,” Dirk explains. “Whether they need individual plant components of proven quality or complete plant sections, need to plan a process adjustment or process extension, or want to realise a complete greenfield project, GEA Brewery Systems is able to help. Our services include everything from conceptual engineering, delivery installation and automation up to the comprehensive servicing of customer equipment.”
The number of products available through the company covers every part of the brewing process, including carbonation and nitrogenation, yeast pitching, pasteurisation, water de-areation, mixing, mashing, filtration, fermentation and conditioning. Through the Tuchenhagen branch of the company, it also manufactures components that have been manufactured to stringent quality, reliability and safety standards. Items available include process valves, pumps, cleaning technologies, measurement and control units, tank safety systems and expansion compensators.
Its reputation has been built on more than just technology, however. One of the reasons that GEA Brewery Systems has managed to achieve such success is due to its focus on understanding both the markets and emerging trends in client requests. Because it is often involved in client projects from the initial planning stages, it is able to both give and gain a wide scope of expertise. Maintaining a grip on the market’s leading edge, the company is able to continue offering the best possible solutions to all its customers.
“For many years we have worked with international brewing groups and well known brands alongside medium-sized breweries. They have relied on the know-how and proficient services of our staff to ensure the smooth running of their own operations. Our portfolio of clients includes SAB Miller, AB Inbev, Heineken, Carlsberg, Efes, Coors, Oettinger, Radeberger Group, Warsteiner and many others,” Dirk comments.
Given the international nature of the brewery industry, there is no surprise that a large amount of the company’s units are exported around the world. Over 80 per cent of its products are shipping to countries throughout Europe as well as the CIS, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America.
At the upcoming Brau Beviale trade show GEA Brewery Systems is planning to unveil four new products: MILLSTAR 2.5 t/h, COMPACT-STAR,
ECO-FERM and ECO-FENCE. The MILLSTAR 2.5 t/h is a continuation of the already successful MILLSTAR line of milling systems, offering increased capacity but utilising the same cleaning and processing components. The COMPACT-STAR, meanwhile, is a new 40 to 100 hectolitre brewing system cost-optimised for medium sized breweries.
ECO-FERM and ECO-FENCE are two developments in the company’s environmentally friendly program, the former being a high capacity fermenting cellar and the latter is a well engineered piping system that does not require opening for changeover. The ecological advantages of both products are seen in reduced energy usage, water wastage and cleaning requirements as well as increased fermentation speeds.
In discussing why the motivations behind these developments, particularly of its ECO line, Dirk highlights the way in which GEA Brewery Systems collaborates with clients: “We see demands for the new products in the market and a further challenge to focus the company’s unique selling points. Innovation is essential to success and we do our best to always be one step ahead.
“With rising energy costs and dwindling resources, the ecological optimisation of production plants is an important issue. The brewhouse and also the cold block process have great potential to cut energy consumption with small financial capital. From a single product up to whole systems, process improvements are possible. It is our target to be the trendsetter in this area. Of course, this requires an intensive dialogue between the breweries and experienced plant manufacturers in order to take all the local conditions into consideration and develop a solution that is tailored to specific requirements. We are in a position to help with that.”
Despite the financial crisis bearing down on many breweries, including smaller ones that have been forced to postpone investment or instead invest money into maximising efficiency, the last few months have seen the industry pick up once more with stalled projects and contracts once again being put into action. Out of this new environment GEA Brewery Systems is expecting to achieve a small but meaningful amount of growth, particularly with developing geographic markets. These markets, where consumer behaviour is prone to change, present the company with new opportunities to provide its high quality, efficient and ecologically beneficial systems.
“We want to remain an innovative and reliable partner for all of our customers,” Dirk concludes. “We have the know-how and the flexibility to develop variable solutions for all our clients worldwide. To provide this we will develop our international GEA network further to make sure that the customer will receive efficient solutions and long-term service locally with the know-how we have gained globally.”
GEA Brewery Systems
Products: Brewery and beverage equipment