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Cask Force builds relationship with Nene Valley Brewery

With the keg market growing in the UK many of Cask Force’s existing customer base are getting in contact and asking about the keg equipment the brand is now building and has established in the UK market over recent years, this started with the K-series dual cask and keg washers and has continued with the KEG 2000 series of washer/fillers.

Image above: Dick Simpson of Nene Valley & Keith Trenton of Cask Force with the KEG2000.

The latest customer to make an enquiry was Nene Valley Brewery based in Oundle, Northamptonshire. They have been expanding their keg population and were washing; sterilising and filling 50 kegs a week by hand. This involved removing the spears washing and sterilising them independently of the keg, which was then washed on the brewery’s 200 series Cask Force cask washer, purchased in the summer of 2012. The kegs were then reassembled and filled direct from one of the brewery’s conditioning tanks.

This was slow, time consuming and inefficient, the risk of contamination also existed when the spear was removed. Considering this and with demand for their range of keg beers increasing, Dick Simpson, the brewery’s owner and founder, took the decision to invest in a keg washer filler and after doing the necessary research decided that a KEG2000 would best suit their needs.

Dick said:
"I would never normally buy a piece of equipment so early in its model life cycle (Nene Valley's KEG2000 is the third to be sold) but I’ve been so pleased with the performance and reliability of the cask washer and the service that Keith and the company provide that I’ve decided it’s the machine for us.

We’ve looked at other equipment but the simple, uncomplicated design, output performance and previous backup received have lead us to this decision. From what I’ve seen so far I think it has been a good choice but time will tell!"

With production forecast to rise to one hundred kegs a week, time will certainly tell on that!

November 2017


Fire and Forget

Caskforce have recently supplied a 200KE3 Series Cask and Keg washer to the team at Brewlab to assist in cleaning casks and kegs.

Brewlab

Image shows Tori and Arthur from Brewlab taking delivery of the 200KE3 machine.

Brewlab are a leading provider of training and analysis services for the international brewing industry and are based in purpose built premises, in Sunderland on the banks of the river Wear.  They have been providing high quality training to the industry for over 15 years. Brewlab’s courses are focused on providing the optimum blend of up to date practical and theoretical skills with sections of training taking place in regional craft breweries where students gain real hands on experience. They also have their own modern 3.5 barrel brewery with a 100 litre trial kit and their own kegging and bottling facilities.

The 200K Electric model will clean up to 28 casks per hour and is electrically heated. Power is supplied though a 16amp 3 phase supply although the steam version can be powered by a single 13amp supply. As well as washing casks the K-Series washes kegs without the need to remove the spears and we believe it to be the only machine on the market to effectively wash both casks and kegs.

The cleaning process is simple and clients have seen massive savings in manual labour and time taken to thoroughly clean returned casks.
The machines also provide other financial benefit. They save water, as the recycled water from the cleaning process is cleverly reused minimizing usage costs and the environmental impact. It also eradicates the expensive issue of contaminated casks potentially spoiling batches. This improves the customer experience knowing that every cask dispatched is going to arrive with the client in first class condition. Another benefit has been the ability to reduce “Bottlenecks” in the brewery as it quickly restores the supply of clean casks and kegs back into circulation.

Arthur Bryant from Brewlab commented:
“We are always looking at products that are state of the art and improve the efficiency within the brewery.  The Caskforce machine ticks all of our boxes. The quality of the automated PLC wash program allows the user to “Fire and Forget” meaning other tasks can be undertaken whilst the washer is completing the cleaning cycle."

Keith Trenton the Project Manager for Caskforce says.
“The opportunity to work with Arthur and the team from Brewlab really underlines how far we have come over the past few years.”

Brewlab are a very well respected organisation and the opportunity to have one of our models in their training facility underlines our current status in the market. Having designed the first machine over 10 years ago from a conversation with a local brewer we have made enormous gains with around 15% of market penetration in the UK alone.

Many of our clients have graduated with Brewlab over the years and this aqusition will give a large number of new recruits the opportunity to see for themselves the savings made over more traditional cleaning methods.

December 2015


Building on a Fine Heritage

With BEERX some months behind them Keith Trenton and the team at Caskwasher have been busy manufacturing their range of CaskForce machines to meet an ever increasing demand.

As all machines are built to order and with a lead time of generally around six weeks production was stepped up to meet the demand from brewers who were gearing up for the summer season and required machines delivered and installed before the beginning of July.

One such customer was LACONS Brewery who have just installed their 300 series dual heat standard caskwasher. Although Caskforce has orders from around the UK and have recently sold two more units to the American Craft Beer sector LACONS are local to their manufacturing facilities a mere 8 miles away in Great Yarmouth.

LACONS returned to brew in Great Yarmouth in 2013 after a break of nearly 50 years.  Since its home coming, the brewery has gone from strength to strength and currently holds the title of SIBA's Champion Beer of the East with their Encore Ale.

Under the watchful eye of its multi award winning Brewer Will Wood LACONS crafts some of the finest ales in Norfolk using original yeast that had been stored in the UK's National Yeast Bank in Norwich for over half a century.

With its ales re-established and a firm expansion plan in place Lacon’s called on the services of Caskforce to develop a new automatic cask cleaning system to ensure effective and efficient cleaning of its casks. Wil worked alongside Caskforce’s lead project engineer Keith Trenton to design a bespoke system to meet the demand of the brewery and Wil’s exact requirements. With the 300 series cleaning upto 50 casks an hour it is a welcome addition to the brewery.  It will dramatically reduce the time taken to clean their casks which like most breweries are currently cleaned manually.

With an ever evolving and expanding market Caskforce  are continuing to develop their product range and the recent edition of the single headed machine has seen strong demand from many start up and small breweries.  

For more information on the complete Caskforce range or to discuss a bespoke project please call Keith Trenton on 0800 157 7198, or email sales@caskwasher.co.uk

Summer 2015


Bradfield Brewery Ltd, Watt House Farm, High Bradfield, Sheffield

Situated on the edge of the Peak District in the picturesque hillside village of High Bradfield, Bradfield Brewery was started in 2004 by Richard Gill and his Father, John, on their farm after years of enthusiastic home brewing.

The brewery based on a dairy farm has grown from a start-up 10barrell plant to the current 40barrell plant producing approximately 3000 casks of ale a week, which is rapidly taking over the farm! This has resulted in sales to almost all parts of the UK with a seven strong van fleet regularly delivering to hundreds of pubs.

The brewery has some fantastic USPs such as using its own borehole water and the setting in the Peak District is the perfect backdrop to a successful small brewery.

This farm diversification story appears to be a resounding success, especially considering the recent growth of the UK craft beer market.
When asked why he went for two 400 series machines Richard said:

“I wanted to future proof the brewery but at the same time I didn’t want to commit to an expensive automated fixed system and wanted the benefits of two machines with regard to:

  • Performance, the combined capacity of the two machines will keep up with our needs.
  • Reliability, if one machine does go down I’ll have the other.
  • Flexibility, if for any reason our expansion plans didn’t work out we could sell one or on the other hand hopefully moving to bigger premises means the cask washers will easily move with us.
  • Available room, compared to some other machines the Cask Force seemed a compact streamlined machine that would fit nicely into our existing washroom adjacent to our racking area”

Richard showed me the old washer and explained “Before the installation of the two steam heated 400 series Cask Force machines the brewery was using a very labour intensive three stage system with nozzles on each and the operator transferring the casks from one stage to the next, a total of four movements per cask.

This has now been reduced to two, on the Cask Force and off the Cask Force. This means a significant labour saving which I can focus our existing labour on other growing laborious tasks such as bottling and deliveries. The 50% reduction in water usage will also contribute significantly to resource efficiency.”

Thanks to Richard and Paul, the head brewer, for the opportunity to promote our products in their brewerys.

March 2015

Please visit their website at: www.bradfieldbrewery.co.uk




Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Church Road, Reedham Norfolk

The Humpty Dumpty Brewery was opened in Reedham, Norfolk in 1998. The brewery started in outbuildings at the Railway Tavern (now sadly defunct), moved to its present site in 2001.

Humpty Dumpty Ales can be found in a wide range of pubs across East Anglia and they also have a shop at the brewery. The brewery won a Bronze Medal in 2009 at the Great British Beer Festival with Little Sharpie and have recently won Champion Beer of Norfolk 2010 with Broadland Sunrise.

As the brewery has developed and increased it’s yield they needed to have a more efficient way of cleaning the casks. After talking to a number of companies they decided on the Commando Cask Force due to it’s unique design. Craig the head brewer and one of the partners was cleaning the casks by hand using just a pressure washers and chemicals. This process was very time consuming with 40 barrels taking upwards of 9 hours!!!

The cask washer can complete the task in around 2 hours saving over 450% in time and labour and the quality of the end result is first class. Contamination of casks was always a problem but this has now been eradicated. Craig decided to invest in the Commando cask washer and was glad he did as the labour saving alone has recouped it costs within the first year.

March 2010



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