A Mile High and a Little Tipsy: Optimizing Brewing through IoT

Denver, Colo. is the Mile High City and the 5280 is just CRAZY about beer. Denver is a mecca of craft breweries. Biz Journal writes, “With 348 (breweries), Colorado is the state with the second-most breweries in the nation, behind only California, which has 687 total. That means Colorado has six breweries for every 100,000 residents.” Needless to say, there are countless choices when it comes to craft beer in Colorado.

Beer & IoT

The process of brewing is complicated and requires a certain level of precision. It’s a multi-step process and everything has to be just right to achieve the perfect end result. The Internet of Things (IoT) offers breweries a more streamlined way of utilizing the data generated by the machinery they already have, as well as supplementing that data with additional sensors to monitor equipment and brewing conditions.

This data allows master brewers to rest easy knowing they will be automatically alerted if anything goes awry. At the same time, IoT solutions offer the peace of mind of being able to monitor the data remotely, leading to a more consistent product. IoT is not eliminating the human element of the brewing process, but frees up time and money that can be spent on developing new products, or just enjoying a damn good beer.

Fathym & Crazy Mountain Brewing Co.

Fathym is working with Crazy Mountain Brewing Company (CMB), a micro-brewery with locations in Denver and Edwards, Colo. Fathym is using sensors to help evolve their legacy brewery facilities into a smart brewery.

Our sensors have been installed to monitor the temperature and volume of the tanks brewing the beer, as well as monitoring the condition of the boiler and glycol in the pipes. These sensors send real-time data to the Fathym cloud, where CMB has created data triggers to receive alerts when temperatures or liquid levels drop too low or get too high. They also have access to a customizable, mobile-friendly, real-time data dashboard to check on temperatures and levels remotely at any time. Data is collected and stored to allow for further analysis to help streamline the brewing process.

These sensors have already been an enormous help to CMB. The Fathym sensors recently alerted them to a boiler issue that occurred during the weekend.

“You saved us a whole day of brewing!  If we didn’t have the alert and we didn’t come in to check Sunday or Monday, we would have walked in to cold water today.  And it takes so long to heat up that we wouldn’t have been able to brew at all today, which messes up the whole week!” says Melissa Bosak, Director of Operations at CMB.

For a mid-size craft brewery like CMB, Fathym makes the Internet of Things accessible. Fathym’s end-to-end solution lets the brewer maintain the handcrafted brew process while experimenting with which sensors to deploy and data to collect in order to see the most operational improvement. For the passionate team at CMB, these key sensor deployments have made a big difference.

“These things have saved my ass a million times,” says CMB Master Brewer John Allshouse of the temperature sensors. This is the kind of stuff we love to hear. At the end of the day, saving our clients time and money is our ultimate goal.

The next sensor deployments at CMB will include deploying temperature and depth sensors on all beer and grain tanks, deploying additional sensors to monitor fermentation bubbles and more.

“It’s very exciting to see the potential for our products to be increasingly integrated into their operation. From a bigger picture perspective it is a great real world way of showing off what Fathym can do,” says George Greenwood, Fathym’s Senior Manager of Product Marketing and Client Engagement.

Not only are we excited to help Crazy Mountain Brewing reap the benefits of IoT, but we are thrilled to discover some of the best craft beer in town!