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Homebrew room for staff on a BRC site

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Posted 08 February 2022 - 12:20 PM

I'm QA at a craft brewery.


We want to provided staff with a space needed to make their own homebrew batches using their own ingredients and equipment (Not for R&D).


I see this as more of a leisure space for staff, similar to the canteen where staff can cook their own meals with no restrictions on ingredients or allergens. the room would have all the same controls with the addition of being locked and all tools labeled for use.



-Staff would be trained on the use of the room in site induction,

-Would be listed on maps,

-Signs posted an washing hands before leaving (there is a sink located in the room) 

-Risk assessment carried out on cross contamination.

-All tools and equipment will be labeled for use only in that room.


my worry is that an auditor will see this as a site process and want to see suppler approval and spec for ingredients. As well as it listed in our HACCP.  but it is intended to only be a space to staff to enjoy in their off time and will have nothing todo with any actual product produced on site.


would love to hear others thoughts on this, and feel free to ask any questions.


Thanks in advance 


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Posted 08 February 2022 - 01:24 PM

Wow, that's amazing! Seems like your management/owners are nice people allowing employees to have fun at work. That's like it used to be in Japan when companies did their best to make employees feel at home in workplaces, considering a company their family.

Suggestions? I've never heard of this initiative before. However, my first thought - food safety training for those making their own beer.


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Posted 08 February 2022 - 01:43 PM

Yeah, that's awesome.  Personally, after work I leave asap to go DRINK beer, not make it, lol.   But to each their own.  You make it, I'll come drink it.


I have no specific worries to point to, other than to say I think you're right to be worried, just knowing how auditors are required to see things.  Dot your 'i's' and cross your 't's' and see what happens.    I don't think it would be a major regardless, even if he writes something up on it.   Take whatever they don't like about it and make your adjustments, and keep on rockin... er, brewin.

And I'm going to need you to go ahead and ship me a sixer of that beer you make.   You know.   For an outside QA assessment.   Testing and all that stuff.....

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Posted 08 February 2022 - 02:49 PM

Treat it like R & D items. So separate locations for ingredients on a labeled shelf (if needed). Also label things for personnel use only, not for sale, etc.  


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Posted 09 February 2022 - 07:06 PM

i would think you could explain in advance to the CB and have the area exclused from the audit.   An exclusion would show up on your BRC certificate.    Is that a possibility?   





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Posted 10 February 2022 - 12:12 AM



I would suggest to conduct a risk assessment whether there is an impact on the sites Allergen protocols, any allergen-free claims, pest control, GMP, cleaning, etc. This room should be part of your GMP/personal hygiene/cleaning inspections, Pest control site plan.


And then you would be able to document and implement procedures to ensure that identified risks are managed using this room as home brewing area. This would be sufficient to show to the auditor that risks are being managed effectively.


I hope this helps.






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Posted 10 February 2022 - 11:40 AM

I think you can keep this area as acceptable as long as it is clear that there is low risk to touch/contaminate any other product and it is not being sold in any capacity.  I would over-document, like Ives101 mentioned, but as long as yo have a robust set of controls in place, like you do, then it should be ok.


Might not hurt to mention it to the auditor when they do their desk audit and see if they have any issue with it.  


Let me know if you get any issue with it.  I would love to do something fun for the team here if it is successful.



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Posted 13 February 2022 - 08:14 PM

Sounds awesome! We got in a bit of trouble because our pilot plant had nothing labelled. It's basically a bit of a free for all and nothing leaves the room, so no really an allergen issue.
But regardless, we are going to have to write up a procedure to show how it's managed with regard to allergens.
Love your idea with the home brew


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Posted 16 February 2022 - 03:16 PM

If you look at BRC FOOD 8 clause 4.8.8 (staff facilities): ''Where catering facilities (including vending machines) are provided on the premises, they shall be controlled to prevent contamination of products (e.g. as a source of food poisoning or introduction of allergenic material to the site''.


So you basically need to ensure that no additional allergens are used (or that they are controlled) and that you employee's do not poison themselves with their home brew.

I think that the above suggestion of operating it as a test kitchen/pilot plant is the best course of action. This will also be good for your quality culture, as they also have to follow and incooperate the standard operational procedures.


Have fun home brewing! :beer:


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Posted 16 February 2022 - 04:58 PM

I have a slightly different outlook, and I'd say this falls under 4.8 Staff Facilities. The ingredients used for the home brewed beer would come under 4.8.7 as food brought onto the premises by staff. You can address the brewing of the homebrew by staff in the same way as food cooked by staff in the canteen, in that the preparation of the homebrewed beer is distinct from the preparation of the beer brewed commercially as part of your certified process and is not subject to work instructions, recipe control, etc.


So brewing the homebrew in a dedicated room would be very similar to cooking soup in the canteen - the homebrew would itself fall outside of the scope of audit in the same way that soup cooked by the staff would fall outside of the scope.... But the brewery would still need to fulfil the requirements of section 4.8 as far as changing facilities, storage facilities, handwashing and personal hygiene, etc.


The room dedicated to homebrewing would still be subject to audit, glass and brittle plastic controls, pest control, etc. This means if there's hydrometers or thermometers etc you should capture that on the glass and brittle plastics register. Just think about the staff brewing homebrew in the same way as you would think about them preparing food for personal consumption and implement controls appropriate to staff facilities.

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