Stainless steel has delivered confidence in the production and quality of the globally-trending beverage, kombucha.
Kombucha - also locally known in Australia as 'booch' - is a fermented tea drink, produced using sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Its composition dates back thousands of years but the drink has grown in popularity over recent times due to its health and probiotic benefits.
Remedy is currently the largest kombucha producer in Australia and New Zealand and the third largest globally. With kombucha market demand expected to grow 15% year-on-year to 2030, Remedy took the lead to consolidate its production, warehousing and distribution operations, catering for its expanding product range and future local and international demand.
Its state-of-the-art facility in Victoria's Dandenong South covers over 18,000 sqm and was completed in 2022. It features new equipment and technologies, with stainless steel at the forefront of the design to ensure no quality compromise in the traditional, small-batch brewing process.
Their kombucha is brewed in stainless steel tanks in a separate room maintained up to 30 degrees Celsius, using SCOBY which is more than 50 years old. The drink is made from slightly sweetened tea which feeds the SCOBY, delivering a carbonated beverage filled with live cultures, antioxidants, and organic acids. After the 30-day brewing process, the sugar is removed from the fermented product and tapped into the filling lines.
ASSDA Member Fineweld Stainless Steel was engaged to design, fabricate, and deliver 12 stainless steel tanks in various sizes and applications for the 2022 expansion, including:
- 25,000L tea buffer tank (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), insulated and sheathed with provision for a side entry agitator.
- 30,000L hot water tank (duplex 2205 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), insulated and sheathed with internal heating elements.
- 7,000L caustic tank (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted) with internal heating elements, insulated and sheathed.
- 5,000L secondary fermenter (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), dimple jacket, bottom aerator, insulated and sheathed.
- 10,000L hibiscus tank (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), insulated and sheathed.
- 3 x 20,000L brew storage tanks (316 wetted parts), insulated and sheathed with provision for a side entry agitator.
- 2 x primary fermenters (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), insulated and sheathed.
- 2x PFS tanks (316 wetted parts, 304 non-wetted), insulated and sheathed with provision for a side entry agitator.
Over 18 tonnes of various stainless steel grades including 304, 316 and 2205 were supplied by ASSDA Member, Midway Metals. All tank designs included dual skin with insulation to help maintain desired temperatures. Some tanks feature Mixquip side entry agitators to prevent the product from settling. The caustic and hot water tanks were designed and built with internal heating elements and side access for was of maintenance.
Stainless steels are excellent combatants of corrosion and are strongly suited for producing beverages containing microbes and acidic compositions. In addition, it is a hygienic, low-maintenance product that offers structural strength, durability, and integrity, whilst being able to withstand high temperatures during the brewing process.
This article was featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 77 (2023).