Wolf of the Willows

A brewery with a Siemens backbone

With the brewing industry in Australia and New Zealand growing at a rapid pace, efficient and scalable automation from Siemens ensure craft brewers can produce consistent, high quality products while focusing on what they do best – creating.

 

The fermentation process at Wolf of the Willows is powered by a purpose-built solution that brings the family of Siemens technologies together. Optimised by software from Fermecraft, a Siemens solution partner with software specifically designed for the brewing industry, the business can monitor this process in real time from any location, with rich data insights resulting in improved operational efficiency and reducing unplanned downtime. For Wolf of the Willows, this has reduced their average ferment cycle from 25 days to 18 days.

 

Amidst a global pandemic, Siemens technology allowed the team to efficiently adapt their production process from kegs to cans, unlocking new markets and ultimately growing their business while maintaining the quality product that customers love.

“Ales of distinction”

Established by Scotty and Renae McKinnon in 2014, Wolf of the Willows is a family owned brewing company located in Mordialloc, Victoria. 

 

Wolf of the Willows make good times, facilitated through the production of beer. They have a passion for producing hand crafted, modern ales that are distinct in quality, flavour and character – what they like to call “ales of distinction”.

Totally Integrated Automation

To ensure production is optimised, Wolf of the Willows have incorporated Fermecraft software into their operations. Siemens’ totally integrated automation concept forms the backbone of the Fermecraft technology, allowing for flexibility and ensuring a quality product.

 

With this technology, Wolf of the Willows can adapt their processes very quickly, changing their batches while ensuring consistency along the way. Siemens technology has allowed the Wolf and the Willows brewers to effectively monitor and manage their entire fermentation process, cutting this down by 25%. Which means more beer, more often!

Now because of some of the technology that we have implemented we’ve gone from an average of 25 days down to now 18-day ferment cycle. So, from first brewing beer to actually putting it in the package product to go out into market, that’s a massive cost saving for us
Scotty McKinnon – Founder and Head Brewer, Wolf of the Willows

Siemens technology, scalability and a global pandemic

Technology from Siemens has allowed Wolf of the Willows to thrive, scaling up and adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Wolf of the Willows have successfully:

  • Tripled brewing and fermentation capacity with purchase of new fermenters and quadrupled the size of their chiller and associated systems. The Fermecraft solution, utilising Siemens technology, facilitated Wolf of the Willows’ ability to 'bolt on' these assets in a quick, easy and cost-effective manner. Fermentation settings remained precise when creating new beers and consistent with ongoing beers.
  • Increased staff numbers while adapting to market changes caused by COVID-19 restrictions. The closure of all restaurants and pubs meant the demand for kegs stopped overnight. They had to quickly adapt to producing packed products, such as cans of beer. The intuitive design and ease of use of Siemens technologies allowed for the fast training of new staff.
  • Reduced room for error in the canning process. The temperature of product is vital to the canning line. A difference of just 1°C could result in the loss of product meaning valuable time and money is wasted. Being able to set precise and consistent temperatures has reduced product losses on canning beer by approximately three percent. Over a year, this means huge savings for Wolf of the Willows.
Here is a perfect example of a craft brewery growing, investing in the right technology and we’re actually wiring in more tanks. So already, Wolf of the Willows has been able to expand and Fermecraft has been able to support that expansion.
Warren Bradford – Founder, Fermecraft

Technology with a purpose

“Siemens is renowned for having the world’s best technology. Except without actually having people that can enable the technology, we can’t really achieve want we want to achieve with it.” – Justin Farrell, General Manager Factory Automation, Siemens

 

Wolf of the Willows uses Siemens’ MindSphere with two applications –  ‘EasyDash’ and ‘Flow Creator’. This allows them to monitor key elements of the ‘live’ process in real time from anywhere and make changes remotely. They also capture the data of each batch for continuous improvement. Specific benefits for Wolf of the Willows are:

 

  • Monitoring key aspects of the fermentation process such as temperatures and volume of ingredients added. Vessel volumes can be monitored from anywhere, improving operational efficiency.
  • Recording batch characteristics to better plan for future batches and be able to provide consistency.
  • Condition monitoring of plant performance aspects such as chillers. This enables predicative maintenance and avoids unplanned downtime.