While hopheads filed into the JFDF Kitchen for a cook-off with Chef Oji Jaja on National Beer Day, April 7, other activations were hopping off in other parts of town.
A specially invited group with a particular interest in the science and mechanics of the Red Stripe brewery were whisked away to 214 Exchange on Spanish Town Road.
The staff at Red Stripe organised a tour of the world-class brewery, with a particular interest in the brewing and packaging departments.
The first stop was the Red Stripe Vibes room where Red Stripe Safety and Environment Officer Stevar Palmer, provided a crash course in factory rules and guidelines – specifically for safety.
From observing blind spots in the brewery to safety when vehicles are passing, the course provided all the tips necessary for navigating the designated areas.
Personal protective equipment was issued, indicating the start of the first leg of the tour to the Brew House.
The tour begins
The first leg of the tour started in the Red Stripe Vibes Room with a safety-first briefing led by Palmer and the coordination team.
We met both tour guides, were separated into two teams and began the trek.
Guided by the well-informed Brewing Line Manager Tameika Grant, the crew learnt of Red Stripe’s rich history, the brewing processes, and a few trade secrets to making one of The Rock’s leading lager.
Grant handed over to Red Stripe Packaging Line Manager Zitroy Brown, who guided the Packaging House tour.
Fun Fact: Wort, the liquid extracted from the mashing process during brewing, contains the sugars, the most important being maltose and maltotriose, which will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol. It is popular among men, “a source of great strength, stamina and vigour”, as one employee put it.
In the packaging area, there were recycling, bottling, capping, assembling and packaging lines – all active as we made our way through the maze-like course.
Palmer was also on hand for extra caution, providing support for Brown.
This portion was one of observation rather than information. The process was quite tedious and required some amount of manual labour.
With their eyes, members of the team watched as bottles were washed and sanitized, filled with beer, capped, and then shuffled to the final packaging stage – where they are dropped into crates and stacked on pallets for distribution.
Another Fun Fact: The Red Stripe plant’s yearly capacity is 1.2 billion hectare litre. By Heinekens standards, that is equivalent to a medium-sized brewery.
Loop News capped off National Beer Day with a Brews Kit – loaded with Red Stripe beers and lager from their affiliate brands.