Creating Glass for Craft
Glass manufacturing is a historical craft which dates back to around 4000 BC; and whilst the technology might have changed dramatically, the process and raw materials used are fundamentally the same.
Batch and Furnace
The creation of craft beer bottles begins in the Batch House where sand, soda – ash and limestone are weighed and mixed with other raw materials including up to 90% cullet (recycled glass) before they are melted in the furnace at between 2300 and 2700 Fahrenheit to create molten glass.
Using so much recycled material makes it one of the most sustainable packaging materials there is. Glass also benefits from the fact that once it is recycled there is no loss of quality or purity. In fact glass can be recycled endlessly and will still be as good as the first time it was made into a bottle.
The Forehearth transports the molten glass from the furnace and lowers its temperature to a uniform level. Shearing cuts the glass into ‘gobs’ which are then distributed to the forming machine. The forming machine accepts the molten ‘gobs’ into moulds and compressed air then forces the craft beer bottles into their shape.
Currently at a temperature of between 1980 and 2150 Fahrenheit, the bottles then cross a cooling plate and drop to between 800 and 900 Fahrenheit. The hot-end coater coats the exteriors of the bottles to strength them.
The Annealing Lehr reheats the bottles to about 1050 Fahrenheit and then quickly cools them to about 960 Fahrenheit. This process reduces stress in the bottle which promotes the natural strength of the glass.
The cold-end coater applies exterior coating to strengthen the bottles and reduce abrasions. The temperature is now between 225 and 275 Fahrenheit.
Throughout the whole process, the bottles are monitored regularly. Each bottle is subject to exhaustive computer, laser, electronic, mechanical and manual checks to ensure that it passes the most stringent health and safety standards. Any bottles which show up even a minor fault are recycled back into the furnace to be melted and produced again. Once a bottle has passed the testing process it is then palletised before being delivered to be filled with craft beer by one of our many customers throughout the country.
Very much like the craft beer that it holds, glass is unique and has retained its popularity over centuries by representing flavour, freshness and quality. Those who know craft wouldn’t want their beer packaged any other way.
At Origo, we are proud to not only supply your bottles but to make them as well. Just like the glass that we make, we have a long history in perfecting our craft and we hope you can see that we are as passionate about it as you are about yours. Click here to watch the full cullet to bottle process.