April 11, 2018
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Everything is cool

Everything is cool

Craft beer maker Ritual Brewing struggled with steamy conditions inside the California warehouse that doubles as its taproom. A giant ceiling fan brought relief to workers and customers alike.

By David Maloney

Keeping its cool is critical for Ritual Brewing Co. But that's not always easy for a microbrewer like Ritual whose production process involves a lot of boiling and steeping.

Founded in 2012, the Redlands, Calif., beer-maker operates out of a 23,700-square-foot warehouse building, where it brews up some 24 different styles of craft beer each year. In addition to the brewery, the open-design facility houses the company's distribution operations, a sales office, and a taproom where beer-lovers can enjoy a cold one with friends. Although that open design has been a big draw for customers, who like being able to see the beer tanks and observe the brewery's operations, it created some climate-control headaches for Ritual. The problem was particularly acute during the hot California summer months, when the brewer struggled to maintain comfortable air temperatures in the cavernous multi-use facility.

"Sometimes, it would get hotter inside than out," explains Owen Williams, co-founder of Ritual Brewing. "I've seen it at 116 degrees Fahrenheit inside and 114 degrees outside. And then during the winter, it would be colder inside than out. This is a big, open high-ceiling warehouse."

Things only got worse on brewing days, when steam from the beer-making process would boost humidity levels inside the building. The staff tried floor fans and misting machines to cool the rooms down overnight, but to little effect. Ritual needed a better way to keep its cool if it expected customers to linger in its taproom enjoying its brews.

COOLER RUNNINGS

Williams and his team could have put in air conditioning, but that would have required walls and insulation, radically changing the open environment they wished to maintain. After looking at alternatives, Ritual opted to install an AirVolution-D 780 ceiling fan from MacroAir.

The large 24-foot HVLS (high-volume, low-speed) fan gently circulates the air to provide relief for workers and customers alike. The fan's six blades turn relatively slowly, so as not to create an annoying breeze or noise. Because the AirVolution's oversized blades keep high volumes of air circulating throughout the space, it's able to keep the people below comfortable even at low operating speeds.

Williams noticed an immediate difference after the fan was installed. "People stay here longer and buy more products," he says. "It really is the best solution, environmentally and economically."

The MacroAir fan proved to be so efficient that Ritual has since added a smaller 16-foot fan to cool another section of the facility.

"This has been one of the best strategic decisions we've made in the last three years," reports Williams. "People love to see the fans and how well they work. They are blown away."

This video provides a look at the installation in the Ritual Brewing facility.

About the Author

David Maloney
Chief Editor
David Maloney has been a journalist for more than 35 years and is currently the editorial director for DC Velocity and Supply Chain Quarterly magazines. In this role, he is responsible for the editorial content of both brands of Agile Business Media. Dave joined DC Velocity in April of 2004. Prior to that, he was a senior editor for Modern Materials Handling magazine. Dave also has extensive experience as a broadcast journalist. Before writing for supply chain publications, he was a journalist, television producer and director in Pittsburgh. Dave combines a background of reporting on logistics with his video production experience to bring new opportunities to DC Velocity readers, including web videos highlighting top distribution and logistics facilities, webcasts and other cross-media projects. He continues to live and work in the Pittsburgh area.

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