Practical advice on how to choose floors for individual brewery zones

The selection of beers on the market is currently very wide and includes both global brands and regional products brewed according to traditional recipes. Regardless of the scale of operations, the quality of the final drink is also influenced by the finishing materials used in the brewery, including floors.

  • The right flooring solutions are an important element of maintaining the highest production standards in the food industry.

  • Breweries require easy-to-clean floors that can withstand heavy barrels and spillages.

  • From the bottling area to the tasting room, the floor must provide the right properties.

Experts from Flowcrete, a leading producer of resin floors, suggest what to look for when choosing floors for individual zones and rooms in a brewery.

The choice of flooring is one of the key aspects of brewery design. The use of unsuitable material, e.g. leaving unprotected concrete, means that it can become a cracked and ineffective surface that is not only a trip risk but which can also present a contamination issue, as harmful germs, mould, bacteria and contaminants can easily get trapped and colonise within a broken floor layer. As a result, large sums of money have to be spent on repairing, replacing and refurbishing floors when they fail.

Beer is usually acidic, and its production uses malts, hops, brewer's yeast, as well as other additives such as honey or fruit juices. This means that the floor on which spillages and leaks may appear should have adequate chemical resistance. Alongside exposure to chemicals, the floor will also be subjected to wear and tear from heavy foot and forklift traffic, regular warm water or steam cleaning, frequent wet processing activities, fluctuating moisture levels and point loading from heavy equipment, including beer kegs.

To withstand all of these operational conditions, an easy-to-clean and robust floor coating should be applied, especially in the production and fermentation zones due to the intensive and challenging conditions inherent to these locations. This requirement has led to an increasing number of breweries specifying specialist resin flooring that is antimicrobial, for instance, HACCP International certified, highly durable and chemical resistant.

Resin floors are particularly effective as they can be supplied in thick, hardwearing formulations that will maintain a seamless, impervious and colourful finish for an extended time. The versatility of resin flooring also means that solutions can be installed that are tailored to specific brewery areas. For example, polyurethane systems with bactericidal agents incorporated within the floor’s resin matrix (for instance Flowfresh floors) are ideal for even the largest and most intensive production areas.

Filling and bottling areas is an equally challenging environment in which spillages can lead to stains and pooling. There is a responsibility here as well to keep the employees safe in wet areas. Polyurethane floors with anti-slip aggregates, including quartz sand, broadcast into the finish can help to keep these zones both clean and safe.

The floor in the brewery’s cold room has to be resilient to low temperatures and should have anti-skid properties to safeguard staff and visitors. The compressive strength of the floor also needs to be good enough to resist point loading from metal racks of heavy barrels.

Brewery tasting rooms are a welcoming space where the floor’s aesthetics need to tie into the interior design scheme to create a pleasing environment. Decorative resin flooring systems are available that will deliver the required visual impact while also providing the necessary cleanability, functionality and durability properties. These include flooring systems consisting of coloured quartz granules encapsulated in a clear resin binder (for instance Peran STB) or coatings which contain varying sizes of flakes scattered over a coloured base coat and finished with a tough resistant clear sealer (such as Peran PGF Floor Flakes).

The aroma is not only important quality in beer, as the aroma of the floor can affect the micro climatic condition in which the beer is prepared, stored and preserved. A floor coating that emits low levels of toxic substances and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) will have little impact on the brewery’s interior air quality.

When designing or refurbishing a brewery it is important to bear in mind that the building materials have a direct effect on how successfully each bottle is produced and stored – therefore it is imperative to ensure that the optimum conditions are achieved at each stage of the beer production cycle.

Keywords Flowcrete