Brewery Color Coding: Where to Start
If your brewery has never implemented a color-coding sanitation plan, it can be difficult to know where to begin. But, if you’re reading this guide, you’re off to a great start. While we at R.S. Quality Products understand that each brewery is different and has unique needs to address, there are a few simple steps that every brewery can take to begin the color coding process. By following these steps and working with your supplier, you will be on the right track to implementing a successful color-coding plan the first time.
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Step 1: Identify your major points of contact.
Most breweries make the following zone distinctions for consideration in a color-coding plan:
• Product Contact Surfaces
• Product Proximity Surfaces
• Floors & Walls
Step 2: Determine if your facility has additional needs that need to be reflected within the color-coding plan.
For example, breweries that also serve food and breweries that brew both sour and non-sour beers call for the implementation of additional colors to avoid cross-product contamination.
Step 3: Determine logical colors per area.
Sometimes researching color-coding plans that exist for other facilities can help to make these determinations. Green, blue, red, white and yellow are the “basic 5” that almost every tool is available in. So, in high tool use areas, it’s best to pick a cardinal color that most tools will be available in. Consider common color assignments, for example, black is often used for floors or drains.
Step 4: Identify all tools used for production and cleaning in each area of the brewery.
Again, be sure to verify whether or not you are able to find all of the appropriate tools in the color you have chosen for that point of contact. If you are not able to do so, you should revise your plan before purchasing any tools as color-coding plans are most effective when they are all-encompassing. Getting this step right the first time is essential to saving brewers time and money later on so be sure to chat with your entire team to be sure you are not overlooking any necessary tools that should be considered in the plan.
Step 5: Order all necessary tools and create appropriate signage and storage locations.
Most breweries use storage racks to ensure that tools are always returned, and therefore less likely to wander or go missing.
Step 6: Roll out the entire program at once with appropriate signage.
This is a vital step for a successful color-coding plan. Provide ample training for all employees, as your plan will only be effective if all employees are educated.
Step 7: After one month passes, evaluate the early successes and potential shortcomings of your plan.
Address these as soon as possible and, if needed, contact your color-coded tools supplier for advice.
Step 8: Schedule frequent re-examinations of the color coding plan, its tools, and if it’s still effective or not.
As plants change, product offerings change or reorganizations of the plant floor happen, color-coding plans may need to be updated.