The definition of quality of beer is those characteristics of the final product that makes the beer to meet the requirements defined for the product (flavor, color, aroma, bitterness, food safety, customer satisfaction, profitability, etc.). The Quality Management in Craft Breweries has therefore the goal of optimizing the performance of processes, brewing beers consistently and preventing alterations and contaminations in order to achieve the desired requirements in beer.
This is accomplished in three steps:
- Defining quality requirements
- Quality Controls
- Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement
The first step is to define the desired requirements of the beer in different areas, such as sensory attributes, food safety requirements, customer satisfaction, costs, profitability, environmental impact, etc. Also it should be documented how the quality of beer will be evaluated through certain specific parameters during brewing process and in the final product: quality controls.
Quality Controls are performed both during the production process, raw materials, intermediates and final beer. The implementation of these controls will allow brewers to proactively assess whether the brewing process is under control. Must first define what values are expected for each of the parameters to ensure that beer is being developed within the expected quality and also those values expected in the final beer just before it’s ready for consumption.
The Quality Assurance is the process through which the quality controls, metrics and results are audited or proactively monitored regularly to identify opportunities for improvement. This will allow brewers to maintain a list of proposals to improve controls, measures, processes , etc … so that the control of the beer is managed and improved continuously at all stages to ensure that the objectives are met. These quality assurance plans are fully implemented in breweries of large industrial groups and can be adapted to craft breweries under the same principles and objectives, ie managing quality, improve processes and maximize performance of the brewery.
The following articles will detail each of these steps in more detail.