Instagram: Kombucha brewer bottling

Continuing our review of pictures of the production side of commercial kombucha companies, we come to the bottling process. For most home brewers this involves a funnel and some recycled bottles. A home brew bottle is being filled in the top left picture below. Commercial companies need an automated process.

Fill ‘er up

Bottling kombucha typically involves drawing the product from a holding tank and filling it into bottles in a filling machine, which are then capped, labeled and packed into cases. It’s something that beer producers have been doing for a long time, and we can only assume kombucha brewers source their bottling and labeling equipment from that industry. According to Wikipedia, the process of bottling beer involves the following steps:

The first step in bottling beer is depalletising, where the empty bottles are removed from the original pallet packaging delivered from the manufacturer, so that individual bottles may be handled. The bottles may then be rinsed with filtered water or air, and may have carbon dioxide injected into them in attempt to reduce the level of oxygen within the bottle. The bottle then enters a “filler” which fills the bottle with beer and may also inject a small amount of inert gas (usually carbon dioxide or nitrogen) on top of the beer to disperse the oxygen, as oxygen can ruin the quality of the product via oxidation. Finally, the bottles go through a “capper”, which applies a bottle cap, sealing the bottle.

Brewers need to be able to scale their bottling as their business grows. No matter small batch or large batch fermentation, it all needs to be bottled before being shipped.

Yes They Can!

That said, some brewers are now shipping kombucha in cans.

Bevnet have an extensive analysis of the reasons for the move to cans.

The glass bottle format has been good to kombucha. Brands that use custom molds, such as Health-Ade, Brew Dr. and Humm, have helped natural retailers build out their kombucha sets with products that communicate high quality and health through their packaging, further distinguishing those drinks as better-for-you alternatives to soda. Yet kombucha makers are increasingly taking their cue from the craft beer space, where in recent years brewers have embraced the can format as a convenient and portable option for consumers.

There’s solid environmental reasons why cans are better for the environment. According to trade group The Aluminum Association, cans typically contain 70 percent recycled material. Consumers also recycle cans 20 percent more often than they do glass.

While we’ve not yet seen pictures of how cans are filled and sealed on Instagram, here’s a selection of brands than can their ‘booch.

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