How a Craft Brewery Uses SolidWorks to Make Better Beer

If there was ever a rock solid reason to play hooky from the office, today was the day.

Enter: Prism Engineering’s SolidWorks 2014 launch event. Keynote speaker? Jordan Sunseri, a head brewer at Victory Brewing Co.Victory Brewing uses Solidworks CAD

Upon receiving Prism’s invite last month, I instantly said “Yes” (aka “Cheers!”) to attending. I always want to stay on top of the latest advances in our engineering software. But, I also LOVE craft beer. Especially local Victory beer, like Golden Monkey and Storm King.

Hey, what can I say? Definitely a great reason to step away from the office and enjoy delicious beer attend a conference!

Prism has been our SolidWorks vendor and 3D CAD training partner for nearly 10 years now. They sure caught my attention by having Victory present at this year’s SolidWorks launch event, but honestly, I wasn’t sure how Victory would fit into the mix.

Silly me.  Once Jordan started his talk, I found myself reflecting back on engineering and business 101: Always think outside the box!

It turns out that SolidWorks software has served Victory very well. And by “very well,” Victory says SolidWorks has saved them at least $1.2 million in costs to-date. Victory now runs product and packaging design through SolidWorks, as well as brewery systems design, including design for their new 212,000 sq. ft. plant currently under construction in Parkesburg, PA.

The more Jordan described the role SolidWorks has played at Victory, the more I sensed how much science and good engineering is behind their beer making. No surprise that they are now the 26th largest craft brewer in the US.

Think of the value of an internal employee like Jordan not just understanding the craft of beer making, but also understanding how their internal equipment was built. It’s a holistic approach. It’s also a smart, vertically integrated and cost-effective approach.

Jordan described how he and his team have used SolidWorks to map out Victory’s new Parkesburg plant, as well as their new Kennett Square facility. They use SolidWorks to quickly lay out dimensional info and identify constraints. They’ve built virtual layouts and prototypes on their laptops before incurring any manufacturing or construction costs. They have internally designed equipment in fun, user-friendly ways – for example, a hop freezer that allows visitors to hit a button to unleash the aromatic hop smells while brewing.

SolidWorks has also helped Victory identify brewing system interferences in advance of ordering the equipment. With a budget set at $30 million for the new plant, it is certainly much better for Victory to learn that pipes won’t match up prior to shipping in those new multi-story grain silos from Germany.

“It’s all to help us make better beer,” Jordan said.

Victory's new Parkesburg brewery

Rendering of Victory’s new Parkesburg, PA brewery. Image courtesy of Victory Brewing Co.

Here are some more details on Victory’s huge expansion:

Parkesburg At-A-Glance

  • 212,000 square foot building on 42 acres in West Sadsbury Township
  • German-built Rolec brewhouse with initial production of approximately 225,000 bbls per year; Brewhouse production is 10 brews per day at 200 bbls per brew (2,000 bbls/day)
  • Total capacity of up to 200 bbl (6,200 gallon) batch, and 500,000+ bbls per year
  • Excellent and reliable water source from a reservoir fed by the West Branch of the Brandywine (similar chemistry to our current source, the East Branch)
  • Best-in-class brewing systems and installations, with efficient use of energy and maximal hygiene throughout the process
  • State of the art yeast handling system for ultimate flexibility in yeast growing and handling
  • Full bottling line production, shifted from Downingtown, with some upgrades; kegging will remain in Downingtown until 2014-2015

Kudos to Jordan and his team at Victory for their very informative presentation today. I definitely look forward to following Victory’s expansion.

From an “engineering” perspective, of course.

About Justin Knabb

Justin Knabb is VP of Operations at Specialty Design and Manufacturing, a family-run, US manufacturer of custom home building products as well as custom industrial machinery. Justin is a fan of microbreweries, traveling, Apple products, and Philly cheesesteaks. He can be reached at 1-610-779-1357 or here.

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  1. […] with a little help from our friend, Jordan Sunseri, Victory Brewing who later talked with us about how Victory Brewing uses SolidWorks to brew great beer (more on that cheers-worthy presentation […]

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