Packaging and distribution are the final stages of our beer production process, followed closely by the brewing and cellar stages.
In our previous blogs, we covered the canning and packaging process in detail.
In this post, we covered what we use in our canning and packaging solutions and how they work across our two sites.
This time we will delve into a secondary packaging process, specifically how we package the beer and merchandise we sell and ship through our online store. We will pay special attention to how we can make this process more environmentally friendly.
At the beginning of the year, friendly we decided to review our in-line packaging process in order to make it as streamlined and, most importantly, as environmentally friendly as possible.
We’ve always considered being more environmentally conscious, but we’ve always had to balance that with the huge costs and compromises required to build a sizable friendly independent brewery.
Related: Building a Brewery and Traversing the Valley of Death Part 1 and Part 2 of the first 11 lessons.
Our online packaging process is an area where our team, especially Leah and Bonnie, have taken the lead in coming up with some simple suggestions
that we think are a big step in the right direction to do better in this area. By making some small adjustments to the way we work and the packaging materials we use, they found that we could achieve cost effective and relatively seamless results.
One of the first things the team did was to friendly eliminate the use of bubble wrap and plastic to a large extent. To help us do this, we bought a cardboard shredder – you can read more about him (yes, he has a name!) Look further down.
We started using eco-friendly packaging tape, kraft paper packaging tape, which we get from BuyEcoGreen stationery and products.
The bags we send out t-shirts and clothing friendly related items are now biodegradable. We get these products from an Australian company called Hero Packaging, which specializes in 100% compostable, zero-waste bags.
We are also transitioning to recycled paper when printing our daily “pick and pack” list.
We started the new packaging process in March friendly when the 2019 coronavirus disease attack began. In hindsight, it was a good time because our online store grew a lot during that time.
Our online sales are handled by Rena, the newest member of the Black Hops Chair team. She follows a daily “pick and pack” process. Each week a list of friendly orders to be shipped is run and stickers are printed out with details of each online order received the day before.
Order volume fluctuates from day to day, depending on factors such as whether the online store has just launched a limited edition beer (which usually results in a sudden spike in orders).
Once a pickup order is generated, Rena contacts our warehouse manager, Wowzy, to let him know how many beers she needs to fill the day’s order. Wowzy then delivers the required beers on pallets to the packing area.
Reanna also collects all merchandise orders (e.g., t-shirts, tote bags, small carryout bags) from the merch display area of the restaurant and brings them to the packing area.
She then puts together the packing list, which is a separate list of orders with customer details and order details.
Rena completes all of our online orders in a designated packing workspace. This space includes shelving, a packing table, and most importantly, our shredder, which we named Frank!
Frank is always hungry and loves to eat. So Rena gives him all the spare cardboard boxes, the packaging she takes down from the restaurant, the old boxes from the office – basically,
any old cardboard we put around gets shredded by Frank and turned into recycled packaging filler. Much better than bubble wrap I’m sure you’ll agree!