Battling Biofilms in Beer Draught Lines

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Speakers: Bridget Gauntner, Dr. Darla Goeres

Biofilms, known to accumulate in draught beer lines, are self-organized communities of microbes that may also contain beer stones, proteins, and/or lipids. Biofilms are more tolerant to disinfection than isolated microbes, and removing an established biofilm from a system is challenging.

In this presentation, Bridget Gauntner, Brewers Association (BA) Draught Beer Quality Subcommittee Chair, discusses the guidelines endorsed by the BA for cleaning beer draught lines. Following this brief introduction to the Draught Beer Quality Manual, Dr. Darla Goeres, Research Professor at Montana State University, shares the results of a BA funded research study to understand the impact repeated exposure to cleaning chemistries has on biofilm growth, kill/removal, and subsequent regrowth in beer draught lines.

About the Speakers

Bridget Gauntner

Bridget Gauntner, Market Quality Specialist

Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Bridget Gauntner became part of the craft beer industry about 11 years ago. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, she was hired to work as a QA lab tech at Great Lakes Brewing Company. From this, she learned so much about the inner workings of production. She spent her days looking through a microscope, swabbing petri dishes, climbing grain trucks to test raw materials, and her favorite part…running a taste panel. She gained a great appreciation for all of the hard work done by folks in the brewery to turn out great beer.

Often, Bridget was a regular consumer buying draught or package beer and was disappointed that the quality of the beer she experienced could be so drastically different from the same beer she enjoyed at the brewery. It made her curious of the causes of these discrepancies. After working in the lab for a couple of years, she was anxious for some change. She wanted to grow and expand her horizons, but still had love for the craft beer industry and was extremely passionate about quality. She wanted to help ensure that consumers could experience beer the way the brewer intended, no matter the distance from the brewery.

Eventually, this path led Bridget to working at Bell's Brewery. She joined the team almost six years ago as a Field Quality Specialist. While touring the brewery as a new employee, she was blown away by the advanced lab equipment being used, and even more impressed with the caliber of people who worked at Bell's. It instilled a great confidence in her for the brand that she had the honor to represent. Having so much trust in Bell's beer quality makes her job pretty darn easy.

Earlier in her career, Bridget joined the BA Draught Beer Quality Subcommittee and was named Chair in 2019. The collaboration of so many competing brewers working toward the common good of promoting beer quality was what really drew her to the subcommittee. Meeting both large and small brewers echoing the same best practices was very inspiring.

Dr. Darla Goeres

Dr. Darla Goeres, Research Professor

Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University

Dr. Darla Goeres is the PI of the Standardized Biofilm Methods Laboratory in the Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University. Her laboratory develops and validates protocols that can be used to grow, treat, sample, and analyze biofilm bacteria. Her research resulted in the first ASTM biofilm standard test methods, two of which are recognized in EPA guidance documents for companies wanting to make a "kills biofilm" product label claim. Dr. Goeres has investigated biofilm in treated recreational water venues, oil fields, manufacturing lines, heating/cooling systems, the built environment, beverage dispense lines, and indwelling medical devices. Biofilm research has enabled her to collaborate with scientists and engineers from around the world, and this opportunity constantly reminds her that microbes do not see international boundaries, and that the really challenging problems require diversity of thought and innovation.

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