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of Brasserie de Silly

New equipment and a mechanised bottling line

Brasserie de Silly’s new bottling line has been in operation for over a year now. It took us two years to prepare for the changeover. In 2015 we had already purchased a new labelling machine have subsequently invested in a semi-automatic de-stacker for new bottles. Most of the 2.5 million euros we invested in our brewery over the past few years were put towards this new bottling plant though. We can now achieve an output of 10,000 bottles per hour thanks to the new equipment.

Our employees Daniel and Didier worked together to design the new equipment. Daniel looked after the mechanical side of things and Didier took responsibility for the electronics. We purchased a bottle rinser for used bottles (the ‘empties’). We also made adjustments to our packaging line. We now have a cardboard box shaper, box finisher and, last but not least, a stacker. This monstrous piece of equipment can stack pallets, cardboard boxes or crates on top of each other up to a height of almost 1.80 metres. We love watching it at work. It enhances the quality of our products but our main goal was to relieve our employees from heavy, physical and repetitive tasks. Our staff have gained time to spend on the quality of the beers in our extensive range and to make them even more consistent.  We automated our production process to free up time for our employees to pay more attention to the details that set us apart from our competitors. Our customers have certainly noticed the difference and we are always happy to hear from them. We have already received plenty of positive feedback as a result of our improved infrastructure.

In April 2019 the bottling plant processed an average of 4,500 bottles per hour. Not a bad number. However, this year we have doubled the speed so we can respond more quickly to growing demand both from our own country and from abroad. If you want to compete in large markets such as China and Switzerland, you must have the capacity to turn around large volumes, and fast. Our brewery is facing a different challenge as well, one that is possibly even greater; the large number of beers that we brew. Our range comprises 17 different beers, bottled and from the tap.

This is an exceptionally high number when you look at other breweries of comparable size and even when you take the bigger ones into account. We are now producing 25,000hl per year but we must be exceptionally flexible on all levels, not just in the brewing hall but also when it comes to our packaging line.  The same applies to our distributors and our representatives. They must know our beers inside out. Aroma and taste profile, colour, packaging – all of this information must be at their fingertips.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of the staff at Brasserie de Silly for the effort they make every single day to safeguard the quality of our beers and for the excellent service they provide. We have reached a higher level of quality and flexibility. New challenges are ahead but I am confident we will face them head-on and be even more successful.

Bertrand Van der Haegen, Managing Director.