Where There’s Dust, There Can Be Fire

Beall Brewery Insurance reports that craft brewery fire is one of the top three losses a brewery can experience, based on severity, according to data from The Hanover Insurance Group

With lots of electrical wires and outlets, hot temperatures, gas-fed flames, and loads of paperwork and packaging, any brewery has plenty of fodder for an accidental craft brewery fire. But one particular craft brewery fire danger can be found near the mill and in the dry ingredients storage area.

In the wrong conditions, dust from grain or sugar used in brewing beer can combust into a flash fire or fireball. Once the solids are mixed with water in the mash tun, the potential danger usually dissipates because the dust is no longer suspended in the air; but during storage, transfer to the mill, and grinding, the accumulation of dust can grow to a substantial enough level that, if exposed to an ignition source—like hot equipment—while it is suspended in air, it can ignite.

That’s not all: if the fireball is created in a confined space, the pressure can build to a high enough level that the resulting explosion can rupture equipment or even the walls of the building. How can you reduce your risk of craft brewery fire and fireballs?

  • Install a dust accumulation system.
  • Establish a schedule to clean out your dust accumulation system and ensure that it is protected from heat sources.
  • Set a schedule for dust inspections throughout the brewery, including difficult-to-reach spots such as support beams.
  • Establish a schedule for dust clean-up in storage areas and close to the mill.
  • Ensure that your staff is trained in fire safety, and knows where the fire alarm is, where the fire extinguishers are, and how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers monthly.
  • Follow local code regarding exit signage, aisle space, and locking of exit doors.
  • Test the fire alarm system and sprinkler system regularly.
  • Hold fire drills.

Be sure your brewery’s insurance policy includes ample fire coverage, but remember: even ample coverage cannot help you recover from the damage to your business if a craft brewery fire puts you out of commission for any length of time. An ounce of prevention is worth a keg of great craft beer.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.