Comac Group thinks small
Italy's Comac looks more closely at craft sector
Italian kegging and bottling plant manufacturer Comac has set up a specialist team - '4 Size S' - to look into the craft brewing sector.
Made up of four members of the company's sales department - Silvia Locatelli, Federica Locatelli, Manuela Villa and Alexei Piatakov - the new team has been looking at the potential offered by micro brewers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Russia, while keeping a close eye both on the Italian craft segment and possible markets in the Far East.
The four have identified a growing need for smaller lines for craft breweries and are finding that it is a case of 'the smaller, the better', according to Silvia Locatelli.
"The machines that have sold best are the smallest models: one or two heads for the keg lines, isobaric monoblocks with an output of between 2,000 and 5,000 bottles per hour, and can lines with outputs of around 3,500 cans per hour", she said.
The success of the products varies from region to region, Locatelli added, pointing out that canning machines are popular with US craft brewers but significantly less so with their European counterparts. Italian craft brewers, she said, are still so small that they have very little need for automated filling or washing lines. Craft has been a feature of the Italian beer landscape since as long ago as 1995, but has only begun to gain momentum in the last few years.
Asked why the group had decided to target the craft sector, particularly when it is still at such an embryonic stage in their home country, Locatelli said: "Because it is a very fresh and genuine market, which stands out for the passion its people devote to producing quality beer."
Comac's equipment is made and tested in Bergamo, in Northern Italy.