Here's to the Growth of Craft Brews and Wines

Across the nation, the growing popularity of wines and craft beers has led to a proliferation of artisanal wineries and breweries in all 50 states.

“At the turn of the millennium, there were approximately 2,000 wineries in the United States,” The Washington Post reported. “Today, there are close to 8,000.”

While most U.S. wine production remains concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington, the Post observed that, “Wine of some sort is produced in all 50 states. This viticulture explosion is electrifying. New York had 118 licensed wineries at the end of 2000; by the end of last year there were 328. Maryland had 12 in 2000 and has 61 today. Virginia’s list grew from 49 to 230 over the same period.”

The explosion of craft breweries is equally impressive. In 2013, the craft beer market grew 20 percent from the previous year, generating more than $14 billion in sales, according to the Brewers Association, a trade organization representing small and independent American brewers.

An estimated 413 brewery openings were reported last year, which is more than one new brewery opening each day. The Brewers Association estimated that 2,768 craft breweries operated in the U.S. last year, including 1,237 brewpubs, 1,412 microbreweries and 119 regional craft breweries.

The phenomenal growth of these industries has created a demand for high performance coating systems designed to inhibit microbial growth on the ceilings and walls of production areas. Protective coatings are being applied on floors to protect concrete against damage caused by sugar in the brewing process or from the tannins used in wine making.

“Breweries and wineries need cleanable surfaces,” explained coating consultant Carl Bowers of Amos and Associates. “They also require coatings that are resistant to chemicals, impact, abrasion and thermal shock from frequent cleaning. Craft breweries are starting to recognize that sugar is extremely corrosive to concrete.”

According to Bowers, wineries are specifying Series 158 Bio-Lastic, a waterborne acrylate coating, for the ceilings of production areas to protect against the growth of trichloroanisole (TCA), which can cause a musty odor and flavor in wines and other beverages. Typically, Bio-Lastic is used over a primer coat of Series 151 Elasto-Grip, a waterborne modified polyamine epoxy.

Bowers recalled one winery where the owners had battled TCA with every possible disinfectant available, along with expensive ultraviolet lights and ventilation controls to regulate the air flow and humidity in the wine cellar, but the problem persisted.

“The owners allowed us to do a 10-foot square mock-up in the worst area of the room using the Bio-Lastic coating system and they found that it worked, even when they increased the temperature and raised the humidity in the room to 90 percent,” Bowers shared.

After the winery’s lab technicians verified the coating’s ability to inhibit mold on the test area, the owners ordered the entire ceiling to be coated with Bio-Lastic, as well as the ceiling of a newly constructed barrel room facility.

The same coating system was specified in 1991 for the ceiling of the wine cellar at Clos du Bois Winery in Geyserville, California. “We stop in there regularly to see how the coating system is doing and it still looks great,” Bowers acknowledged. “It has definitely stood the test of time.”

Epoxy coating systems are typically specified for walls of breweries and wineries, according to Bowers. “On interiors that have CMU walls, Tnemec Series 27WB Typoxy is an excellent block filler and primer for use with Series 113 H. B. Tneme-Tufcoat,” he noted. “Sometimes we will use a mat layup system to protect walls against impact and moisture intrusion.”

During storage, balancing humidity and air flow is critical to the process. When it comes to wall coating systems in these facilities, this can create high humidity and a multitude of problems.

“Ideally, a barrel room would be maintained at near 85% relative humidity to prevent evaporation of the held wine. This loss is commonly referred to as ‘The Angel’s Share,’” explained Sherry Amos, coating consultant at Amos and Associates. “Even with this high humidity, Tnemec systems have been very successful at preventing issues. Our first winery project was a bottling room in the Napa Valley in 1980 and, since then, we have supplied coating on well over 150 winery projects.”

Most floor coatings used in wineries start with a trowel-applied mortar coat under a decorative epoxy. “Sometimes a quartz aggregate is broadcast directly into the mortar and a coat of epoxy is applied over it as a sealer,” Bowers explained. “This is done for aesthetics, because many of these production areas are being turned into entertainment venues for hosting wine club members or prospective buyers.”

Series 241 Ultra-Tread MVT, a polyurethane modified concrete base coat, can be used alone on production area floors or in combination with a decorative epoxy topcoat such as Series 222 Deco-Tread.  Series 241 offers the added benefit of reducing moisture vapor emissions, which is important in new construction projects where there may be a compromised vapor barrier beneath the concrete.

Appearance is also important on the exterior of wineries and breweries, where fluoropolymer or hybrid urethane coating systems are being applied to metal door flashing, trellises, canopies and other aesthetic structures.

“Many wineries and breweries customize the colors they specify for their buildings based on their bottle labels or a brand’s graphics standards manual,” Bowers added. “The owners like to use deep, rich reds that resemble the color of wine and bright colors that resemble the color of grapes, so our Series 1070V Fluoronar fluoropolymer coating is ideal.”

With no end in sight for the rapidly expanding craft beer and wine industries, Bowers added, “As these industries continue to grow, architects and owners will be looking for affordable coating solutions that offer cleanable surfaces that they perform maintenance on, as well as aesthetics.”

Bookmark and Share