As the craft beer sector continues to grow, mainstream beer sales continue to decline. Beer production in Europe has been in decline since the 1970s, and with more and more drinkers demanding a higher standard of drinks, the pressure for brewers to create a quality product which also has a long shelf life is greater than ever. Kegged beer is typically required to last several months, and bottles and cans even longer, with expected shelf lives as long as a year. If beer is to survive unspoiled for this long, the organisms responsible for the spoilage must be completely eliminated or properly controlled.
One challenge is the stabilization of beer in order to reduce microbial growth within the packaged product and therefore increase shelf-life. Currently, the most common method of microbial stabilization is flash pasteurisation. Flash pasteurisation quickly destroys the main microorganisms responsible for beer spoilage by cooking the beer to temperatures of over 70oC for 15-30 seconds. More recently, brewers have been turning to a gentler method of stabilization known as sterile filtration. Sterile filtration, such as that offered by Parker Bioscience, uses membrane filters which provide a higher level of microbial security to the brewer, without the need for the cost-inefficient high temperatures. Parker Bioscience, along with our partner Agidens, have calculated sterile filtration can reduce operational costs by up to 44% compared to flash pasteurisation. This calculation considers all aspects of running costs including energy consumption, water loss, beer batch loss during PU variations and consumable spend