TAIWAN May 2020
 
Craft Beer producer makes innovative, authentic brew using Krones brewing technology
 
Taiwan-based craft beer producer, Taihu Brewery (Taihu) is renown for its innovative beverage products from tea-flavoured beers or sours with smoked Taiwanese plum. The marketing team at Taihu is innovative at developing new recipes for beers by taking inspiration from Asian culture, said Peter Huang, General Manager of Taihu.
However, for the brewing process itself, by contrast, the craft brewers adopt a stringently scientific approach: “Our brewery is like a laboratory, in which we rigorously test every step, every altered ingredient, and keep detailed records. Our paramount goal is to continually improve our beers. We never brew the same beer twice: sometimes we alter the fermentation temperature, sometimes we use new hop varieties. You see, we never regard anything as perfect, we’re always striving to become even better,” he said.
For these trials and small brews, Taihu has installed Krones’ Steinecker MicroCube. With its size of 10 hectolitres, it is ideally suited for trying out new combinations, and these beers are subsequently tested for popularity in one of the firm’s own 6 taprooms in Taipeh. If a recipe proves successful, Taihu then uses its Krones’ CombiCube B in the brewhouse to make batch sizes of up to 50 hectolitres.
Initially, Taihu Brewery contacted Krones just for the bottling kit, but then it found out that Krones can also offer solutions for the small output range. It ordered the MicroCube and then immediately began planning a second, larger brewery centred around the CombiCube B. In addition, its filler-closer block from Kosme was scheduled for commissioning in 2019. Huang said, “We’re currently filling our beers on a semi-automatic line, mostly in cans. This year, we intend to put more bottles on the market.”
Taihu produced the first brew in the CombiCube B during April 2018. Initially, the output was running at about 1,000 hectolitres per month. “But we definitely have quite a bit of capacity in reserve: with the equipment installed, we could easily produce 5 times as much,” added Huang. The line is running at superb flow, efficiency and speed, while having the flexibility to upsize anytime due to shorter brewing time.
Taihu also feels more secure with Krones exceptional service. Huang said, being a small brewery without a large engineering department, Krones sales and project managers are always there to answer to its technical issues. He added that even as a small brewery, Krones has taken our concerns very seriously and professionally.
Taihu has more than 90 workers with more than half in the sales division. Its Head Brewer, Winnie Hsu has more than 11 years experience in the craft beer business, making her probably the only brewer with the longest experience in craft brewing in Taiwan.
In Taihu Brewery, a high proportion of its workers are women. Huang added, “We're a progressive company, and support many social causes that our team believes in, for instance the LGBT movement. Last year we launched a beer whose proceeds go to the homo-, bi- and transsexual community here in Taipeh.” This ‘daring to be different’ could be the key to Taihu’s success. Taihu intends to continue causing a stir on the beer market with precisely this concept not only in Taiwan, but also in China, Hong Kong, Japan or even the US. “We want to consolidate our brand and in future focus on exports as well. Huang’s ambition is a greenfield brewery with a fully-automated 250,000 hectolitre brewhouse from Steinecker and a bottling line from Krones.
The craft beer segment in Taiwan is still a relatively small market and Huang estimated that there are only about 10 players in Taiwan with Taihu being one of the pioneers. Taihu’s beers are now available not only in its own taprooms, but also in other bars, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.
 
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