• OFS had previously delivered a solution to help provide Pelican Brewing Company better insights into its operations.
    OFS had previously delivered a solution to help provide Pelican Brewing Company better insights into its operations.

Australian manufacturing performance software company OFS, and US-based brewery data management company The 5th Ingredient, have signed a first-of-its-kind craft brewing partnership to help the companies expand in each other’s home markets, in a bid to help the craft beer industry become more data driven and efficient.

OFS software, which uses sensors to draw real-time data from the packing line to identify and reduce inefficiencies and waste, has, according to the company, become a go-to solution for filling and packing-line efficiency monitoring in Australia.

OFS says its software is currently being used by around half of Australia’s craft breweries, including Stomping Ground and Tribe Breweries.

The 5th Ingredient, founded in San Diego, has had similar success in the US with its proprietary Beer30 brewery software, which assess data from the moment raw ingredients are purchased to when the can, bottle or keg is sold.

The 5th Ingredient has already deployed its software in more than 10 per cent of the Australian industry, while OFS, having recently launched in the US, has already signed its first three US breweries, including Oregon-based craft brewery Pelican Brewing Company.

The brewing software specialists now aim to expand their footprint across both countries’ entire industries, at a rate of 100 breweries a year.

“We conducted a benchmark industry report last year and found that craft breweries typically spend more than half their time not making beer,” said James Magee, OFS CEO.

“That’s a data problem – paper-based processes, not knowing where the issues that halt the line are coming from, or how much downtime or waste they’re causing.

“The combination of OFS and Beer30 software will bring full integration and automation of all data points into any brewer’s hands. More importantly, it will help them make more beer, in less time, with less waste. 

“We can anonymously use data from breweries in both countries to continually iterate and upgrade our software. We can add more modules, more sensors that show new data streams, and maximise beer production – not only making beer producers’ days easier, but also enhancing their business more broadly.” 

The companies said that the software integration between Beer30 and OFS provides unmatched visibility into yield, covering losses from every step of the brewing and packing process in real-time. 

For example, OFS could capture a series of downtimes on the filler correlating to CO2 quality issues captured by Beer30, which has affected a portion of the product. If the overall problem is related to raw ingredients, it could also identify the relevant batch and which products were affected, preventing a larger-than-needed product recall. 

Importantly, both OFS and Beer30 are viable solutions for brewers of all sizes, where efficiency is seen as a must have rather than a nice to have, dispelling the myth that these kinds of systems are only used, and of value to large companies.

The companies said that depending on the size, even 10 minutes of downtime solved could equal thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in gained production.

“There’s so much sense of passion, pride and community in the craft brewing industry, and they just want to make great beer, and more of it. Our entire focus is on enabling that through what we see as the often-missing ingredient from beer production – data,” said Pulkit Agrawal, CEO of The 5th Ingredient.

“Many decisions in breweries are made based off anecdotal evidence that emerges on day six or seven of production. Together with OFS, we can highlight the issue on day one or even zero, before production begins. This helps craft brewers change from being reactive to predictive and proactive. 

“There aren’t many industries where, if you do a good job and show value to a customer, that customer will recommend you directly to one of their competitors. They help each other out, but they also hold each other to a high standard to keep customers satisfied.” 

The software combination can also be used in non-alcoholic beer production.

OFS will be exhibiting at this year's AUSPACK event on stand H041.

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