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Americas: Brewery’s journey on installing new flooring

When head brewer Jamie Long co-founded his brewery in Harrisonburg, Virginia, US, he knew that a robust floor would be essential to withstand the demands of craft beer production.

Pale Fire Brewing was housed in an 80-year-old building that was in the process of being renovated.

However, the existing floor was unsuitable for the thermal shock, chemical spills, heavy pallets, dropped kegs and slippery conditions inherent to a brewery.

When researching for a flooring solution, Long visited the Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Outpost Brewery in Lexington, VA, where he reviewed the Vienna Lager producer’s Flowfresh floor to see how it coped with the on-site challenges.

Flowfresh is a cementitious urethane system that is hazard analysis and critical control points certified.

It is created by global resin flooring manufacturer Flowcrete.

“I knew we needed floors that would be able to handle the stress from brewery operations,” said Long.

“The floor has held up remarkably well in the seven months we have been open. We are constantly complimented on the cleanliness and professional look of the floor.”

Ground stuff

Prior to applying the coating, concrete was poured in the brewing areas to ensure that the floor would be able to handle the weight of the heavy equipment.

The floor was also sloped so that any liquids would flow into the newly installed trench drains.

Approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of Flowfresh SL was laid down over three days in the production area, bottling line and storage rooms.

A topcoat of Flowfresh SR Sealer was then applied to complete the floor’s finish.

Flowfresh incorporates Polygiene, a silver-ion based bactericidal additive that is homogeneously distributed throughout the Flowfresh material to complement regular floor cleaning and hygiene practices between the site’s scheduled wash cycles.

Flowfresh samples have been evaluated to the ISO 22196 test method, which measures a surface’s antibacterial effectiveness on plastics and other non-porous surfaces.

Slips and trips is another key brewery concern that Long wanted to overcome with his choice of flooring, as spillages of beer, by-products and ingredients during the brewing process can all become dangerous hazards.

The floor was installed with a full broadcast of aggregates to help avoid such accidents by enhancing traction underfoot.

The site has a cove base to facilitate washing.

“I would highly advise the cove base to anyone looking to install Flowcrete floors,” said Long.

“There are always small pieces of grain by the brew house after a brew day and the cove makes it much easier to spray around the perimeter to send it to the drain.”

“Without the cove, grain and dirt would likely get trapped at the 90-degree edge of the floor.”

“The cove base also helps protect some of the drywall that meets our production floor from soaking water up at the edge,” he added.

“The cove base was a relatively small investment to complement the rest of our production floor coating.”