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Steam Boiler Fuels Major Expansion At Magic Rock Brewing

Over 128 years of
Great British

Huddersfield-based craft beer specialist, Magic Rock Brewing, has installed a 100 HP 4VT Steam Boiler from CFB Boilers to generate steam for a number of vital steam-powered processes at its new site. The energy-saving boiler, which comes with future-proof steam capacity, is already helping this highly successful brewery towards its aim of quadrupling output within the space of just two years.

Magic Rock has come a long way in a short space of time. Brothers Richard and Jonny Burhouse, aided by head brewer Stuart Ross, were inspired to start the brewery in 2011 by their love of great beer and the burgeoning US craft beer scene. Initial reaction to the beers exceeded expectations and a fantastic first six months culminated in the company being named ‘2nd best new brewery in the world 2012’ on the independent review site, Rate Beer.

Exceptional demand in the first few years necessitated an expansion in 2015 to a new 25,000 sq ft facility close to Huddersfield town centre. The move led to considerable investment in new brew kit, much of which is steam-powered. For instance, steam is used in the brewing process for heating and boiling wort in the kettle. It is also deployed for heating the detergent bath and steaming the casks at the end of the cleaning cycle. Further use for steam includes heating a series of CIP (clean-in-place) tanks, which provide heated detergent and water for cleaning the brewing vessels.

Steam, “The Best Option”

The output capacity at our previous site was only 5,000 hectolitres a year and quite simply we needed to move in order to meet demand,” says Mr Ross. “Steam was our best option at the new site as it’s better and faster at performing the heating function.

In 2016 Magic Rock output 15,000 hectolitres , and 20,000 in 2017, which will represent a four-fold increase in around 24 months. The new location has also allowed us to introduce a canning line, which adds to our cask and keg portfolio, and open our own 4,000 sq ft bar, The Tap, where beer fans can sample the Magic Rock portfolio as close to the source as possible.”

Magic Rock and CFB Boilers were introduced via social media; at the time of its relocation, Magic Rock issued a tweet saying it was expanding to new premises. This was immediately seen by the sales team at CFB Boilers, who replied asking if the company required steam? Magic Rock tweeted back “yes”! A subsequent site visit determined that Magic Rock required a 80 HP boiler, however CFB Boilers had a completely refurbished, pre-owned 100 HP 4VT Steam Boiler ready at its manufacturing facility in Essex, and was able to offer the larger boiler at a similar rate to a newly manufactured smaller model.

Cost-Saving Installation Solution

Magic Rock describes the installation process as “straightforward”. In fact, the same CFB Boilers’ engineer who installed the boiler when it was new, 10 years ago, fitted it in place at Magic Rock.

In addition to cost-savings associated with the 4VT’s energy efficient operation, CFB Boilers also helped Magic Rock save over £13,000 during the installation process by assisting Magic Rock on the positioning of its gas meter and developing a solution to negate the need for a gas booster. The gas supplier was asked to move the meter closer to the boiler, rather than where originally agreed, thus avoiding the need to cover the piping in stainless steel over ground. With the gas meter closer to the boiler it was possible to bury plastic piping into the ground, saving around £8,000 in the process.

A further saving arrived thanks to not requiring a gas booster. At Magic Rock’s new site (which was not previously served with gas), the new gas supply pressure is low at 21mlbar. Although this is insufficient to run the 4VT Steam Boiler, which requires 30mlbar, switching to a different gas valve meant it could be run at 18.9mlbar, saving around £5,000 on the cost of a gas booster – not to mention the costs associated with servicing such a device.

With its 4VT Steam Boiler in place, Magic Rock is now ramping up output across its cask, keg and can portfolio. The company sells its beers to almost every conceivable type of outlet, with the exception of supermarkets. Beyond the UK, Magic Rock beers can now be found in countries that include Ireland, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and the USA.

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