Brewery HACCP and what it means for your brewery start up!

The purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to the main points of brewery HACCP, what it is and how it will effect brewery start ups.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive instructional article but one that gives you the basics and points the way to further information and resources. If you wanted greater detail around HACCP have a look here.

If you want additional help, I provide affordable, low cost, pay as you go, brewery consultancy. Click here to find out more and see what other people thought of the service.

What is brewery HACCP?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It sounds pretty fancy right? Well, in truth it’s all about food hygiene and the prevention of biological, chemical and other hazards within the brewing process. HACCP applies to all food businesses in the UK and not just breweries. However, this article focuses on brewery HACCP.

So, basically, it’s about NOT sending out beer that is contaminated or otherwise dangerous to the general public.

That’s it!

You’re expected to put in place appropriate controls to prevent your beer from being contaminated by unwanted biological and chemical agents or anything else that poses a threat to the person consuming it.

When you think about it, there’s all kinds of biological and chemical nasties that could potentially end up in your finished beer. For example, acids and chemicals from your cleaning processes or dangerous bacteria from a failure to clean your equipment properly; even dead flies or rats from the warehouse (joking – but I guess it is a possibility).

How does brewery HACCP effect YOU if you’re planning to start your own brewery?

If you are running a food or drink related business where you are producing consumable food or beverages you MUST have an appropriate HACCP Plan in place.

This is the law in the UK and there’s no way of getting around it.

That means, if you are starting your own brewery you’re going to need to put one of these plans together in order to appease your local Environmental Health Department.

And also to ensure your customers are safeguarded from all the horrible possibilities of downing a pint of steriliser or bluebottle infused ale.

You need to have one of these plans in place even if you are a very small pilot start up in your garage or shed. Size does not matter here!

You should be aware that there’s a risk you’ll be inspected by Environmental Health who have the power to shut you down immediately if they have any concerns. You are unlikely to get approved if you don’t put one of these in place anyway to be honest.

What does putting a brewery HACCP Plan in place involve?

  • Identifying any hazards that must be avoided, removed or reduced in the brewing, fermenting, casking and conditioning process and in your particular brewing environment.
  • Identifying the critical control points (or CCPs), which are basically just the points where you need to prevent, remove or reduce each hazard in your brewing and production process by putting in place controls.
  • You will need to actively monitor your CCPs to ensure that they are working effectively and consistently on an ongoing basis.
  • If a problem is identified you will need to put things right as soon as possible. This is critical.
  • Conduct regular checks to make sure your plan is working on an ongoing basis.
  • You will need to keep appropriate records of your brewing, cleaning and HACCP processes. These might be inspected by Environmental Health at any time.

What do you need to do?

Register your brewery start up at least 28 days before you start brewing. This is FREE and easy to do. Go HERE and type in the postcode of your brewing premises and you will be taken to the correct Local Authority’s online registration page.

Your local Environmental Health Department will guide you through the process and tell you what you need to do. However, this will include taking a low cost online course around Food Hygiene and receiving an inspection from Environmental Health where they will help you get a decent HACCP Plan in place.

Links and Resources

Here are some useful links and resources for you:

Food Standards Agency – here.

Gov.uk on HACCP – here.

Books on HACCP – here.

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Brewery HACCP – What You Need To Know

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