Don’t Panic! Checklists Are Your Friend

Think back to the days of planning your brewery. Do you remember the enthusiasm you felt writing your standard operating procedures? What about the excitement you had anticipating your first visit from an FDA officer? My guess is probably not.

When we talk about the beer industry, our conversations often focus on taste, presentation, and experience. It’s easy to lose sight of the nuts and bolts that keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. This includes the establishment of best practices, the implementation of checklists for employee safety and brewhouse consistency, and the laying of groundwork to handle inspections regardless of preparation time.

There is of course an inherent benefit to establishing regular procedures, keeping logs, and maintaining checklists for your brewery standards, but they can also be used as an educational tool during inspections. Inspectors may be more or less familiar with brewery operations, especially compared to some of the more “traditional” facilities they are accustomed to walking through. Having these resources available—and in use—can help educate inspectors and lend credibility to the ways in which your brewery operates.

6 Educational Resources to Keep Your Brewery in Check

The Brewers Associations technical team, along with BA subcommittees, have created a series of guides and checklists to help breweries maintain a high-level of consistency in numerous areas. Whether you use these as “plug and play” templates or the building blocks for your own custom procedural guides, the resources listed below are invaluable for safety, compliance, employee training, and successful inspections.

  1. Good Manufacturing Practices for Craft Brewers (GMPCBs) – Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are the set of standards used to determine if a manufacturer is maintaining practices set by federal, state and county regulations. This resource includes a series of downloadable PDF checklists that provide best practices recommendations for items from equipment to personnel.
  2. Best Management Practices for Surviving an OSHA Inspection – This document provides a step-by-step process for BA members to use when developing safety programs and policies that comply with OSHA standards.
  3. Food Safety Plans & the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – Regardless of whether you sell food or not, this section focuses on GMPs as they relate to FSMA and consumer health. This resource also includes a series of downloadable templates and logs for use in your brewery or brewpub.
  4. Hazard Assessment Principles – This guide provides breweries with best management practices (BMPs) for developing and improving brewery safety programs, standard operating procedures, and worker safety compliance in the brewery.
  5. Best Practices for the Management of Confined Spaces in Breweries – These resources provide helpful, consistent guidelines for brewers and employees to use when working in and around confined spaces in breweries.
  6. Protective Clothing for Brewery Workers – This section covers everything you need to be aware of regarding protective clothing for brewery workers, based on typical hazards that might be found in and around your brewery.

Graham Rausch is membership outreach coordinator at the Brewers Association. He serves as a direct contact for breweries and brewpubs who are new to the BA. Graham started out with the Member Services team in 2014, developing a well-rounded knowledge of BA resources during that time. This experience serves him well in helping new members navigate the numerous benefits available to them. Graham hails from Milwaukee, where his longtime friend and roommate first introduced him to the boundless world of craft beer.

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