Sugar is Key Ingredient for Microbrew Beers

Centrally located just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan – coined Beer City USA, we at Bremer have witnessed an increase in the demand for great, high-quality ingredients used by brewers.

Using the highest quality ingredients available on the market makes a big difference when it comes to creating top-notch beer. Beer is one of the oldest beverages on the planet. It is composed of 90-95 percent water by mass, and has been produced by humans since as far back as 7,000 years ago by some accounts. So, it only makes sense that using natural ingredients is extremely important when it comes to creating a top-notch brew.

Besides water, the basic components necessary for any beer recipe are sugars, grains, hops, and yeast. Hops are the cone-like flowers that come from a vining plant, and yeast are single-celled fungi that reproduce by fission or budding. What do these ingredients have in common? They all just happen to be 100 percent natural. However, yeast and hops alone only do not make the beer… what makes the beer actually contain alcohol is in the yeast foods, like sugars and honey, and that’s where Bremer comes in!

Yeast cells feed on sugar, and, as the sugar passes through the yeast, it creates both CO2 and ethyl alcohol. The most popular brewing sugar is corn sugar although cane sugars and beet sugars are often used in barelywines, dopplebocks or trippels. Some English ales even sometimes call for molasses specifically for brewing strong ales, stouts and porters. However, a growing trend among brewers has been using honey in beer instead of traditional sugars to give the beer a lighter or more summery flavor in hefeweizens and fruit beers.

The type of sugar used can make nearly as big of a difference in the flavor of your beer as the hops, yeasts or grains, which means having high quality sugar makes a large difference in how your beer tastes. So be sure you’re only using the highest quality ingredients that have no off flavors or defects, which makes Bremer a great choice for your next brew. In addition, you don’t have to be a brewery to get your sugars from Bremer, we serve customers from big brewers to someone with a five gallon bucket in their basement.

Are you a local Michigan brewer looking for high-quality ingredients? Let us know how we can help you create that next batch of craft brew. Contact Us Today!

Preservative Profile: Potassium Sorbate

We have various types of food-grade chemicals, and in the future we will be profiling them individually in order to give food processors and beverage and bottling professionals a better understanding of each. Starting with Potassium Sorbate

Potassium Sorbate or E202, as it is sometimes seen on ingredient labels, is a food-grade chemical often used in the beverage industry to increase shelf life. This preservative is derived from the salts of sorbic acid mixed with potassium hydroxide, making it very water soluble with the intended purpose of killing off yeasts and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

For the beverage industry, potassium sorbate is often seen as a preservative to fight off microbial growth that occurs often in dairy and bottled products. Another way potassium sorbate can be used in bottling is in the fermentation of wine. Once fermentation of the wine is complete, there still remains a fair level of yeast that can further turn sugars into alcohol – however, with potassium sorbate, winemakers are able finalize fermentation while inhibiting the yeast from any renewed fermentation. This allows the wine to age without changing the flavor profile of the wine. Potassium sorbate is most often used in the wine processing for sweet wines that need the sugars to remain in the flavor.

Potassium Sorbate used in wine

As a food-grade chemical, potassium sorbate is an incredibly safe product, with little known allergic reactions and a very stable shelf life. The preservative has no taste or affect on the flavor or smell of products it is used on. It is also one of the most common and safest food preservatives in the beverage and bottling industry for ensuring shelf life of products.

Potassium sorbate is available in a powder form and is ready for delivery to your facility. Contact Us Today for a quote on potassium sorbate or other food-grade chemicals.

Please let us know if you have any other preservatives or food products you’d like for us to profile.

Beverage Industry Trends for 2013

The year that was 2012 held many companies to higher standards than ever before when it came to healthy ingredients, sustainable packaging and even what types of vehicles they use to transport beverages. More and more people are checking ingredients and holding companies to high sustainability standards, it looks like 2013 will be much the same as 2012 with a couple interesting quirks.

Oat Drinks: When you think of oats in your drinks you might only think of the grains in brewed beverages like beer, but oat drinks might be one of the most interesting breakthroughs in the beverage industry we’ve seen lately. From the 2012 breakthrough Sneaky Pete’s oat-based fruit flavored juice, to the National Restaurant Association Food and Beverage Product Innovation of the year Simpli OatShakes, oat based drinks will continue to not only make people rethink oats but also be an interesting breakthrough for the beverage industry. Oat drinks not only get the value of being seen as very healthy but they also have the ability to be used in many different ways, from teas and smoothies to even milk substitutes.
Beverage Bottling Line
Push All Natural: This has been a trend for the past few years and it continues to be increasingly important. Whether your product is 100% natural or uses natural ingredients it should be promoted even in drinks that people know to be less than healthy like sodas and beers. It should be noted that the word “natural” holds very little actual value since the word is not regulated in the U.S. However, companies should be sure to use the word wisely, as we’ve seen with other products. If you promote your product as all natural and it has items many consider to be “not natural” there will be push back. However, there are guides that can be useful from the Natural Ingredients Resource Center to consider when labeling your products.

Promoting Sustainability: There are many ways that a company is sustainable, from reducing your water usage to reducing the amount of paper you use administratively – it’s becoming something to talk about; so talk about it! If you’ve reduced administrative paper usage by 30% by storing files online instead of printing them, make sure it’s promoted. If your beverages use recyclable or compostable packaging, make sure it is known. The other benefit from this is that it often saves money over the long term when you reduce water/paper/energy/fuel consumption. This is not only a great thing for marketing and the environment but also your companies bottom line.

Sleep Improvement Drinks: One trend that goes against one of things we’ve been seeing over the past few years is finding drinks that HELP you sleep. Over the past few years it has been all about energy drinks and that pendulum is about to swing back, or at least balance. This is not to say that we’ll see deep decreases in energy drinks, in fact the coffee industry is booming right now, but people are beginning to find that a good night sleep can be more productive than the jitters of energy drinks. You’ll find drinks that are high in amino acids, melanin, and various decaffeinated teas will see an increase in sales because of their relaxing, sleep regulating and muscle relaxing qualities.

While there are plenty of other trends, these trends are high on our lists for what to watch for in 2013. What are some other trends you’re seeing in the beverage industry?

Are Citric Acids Good or Bad For You?

When you look on the food ingredient label of many beverages, you’ll see “citric acid.” From sodas to juices, it’s everywhere. However, since it’s a new year and so many people looking at the ingredients and trying to live healthier, we thought we’d talk about what citric acid is, and whether it’s something we should be giving up.

What is Citric Acid?

First, let’s start with the “What it is citric acid?“: Citric acid is a “weak organic acid,” which simply means that it is a carbon based acid that is fairly mild. This is why it is safely used in food and drinks. Citric acid is used in beverages both because it is preservative and because it gives beverages a clean, sour taste we associate usually with juices or citrusy sodas, though it also is used in many colas as well. The flavor is considered natural because it is not produced using any other additives outside of this naturally occurring acid.

Is Citric Acid Good or Bad for You?

So now that we know what a citric acid is, is it actually good for us? As a matter of fact it is – or at least, it isn’t bad for you. Many times a customer sees the word “acid” on the list of ingredients and they get nervous. However, this is one item that really doesn’t affect their body all that much. Citric acid is naturally occurring in your body as a part of metabolism; your cells produce citric acid as it burns fats and carbs to create energy. While your body produces enough and you do not need any more, any additional that is taken in is usually converted into fats that, in turn, are burned for energy.

The conclusion is that citric acid is neither particularly good nor bad for you; it is simply a common ingredient that makes food and drinks more enjoyable and last longer.

Are you currently using citric acid?

We sell citric acid powder, or flakes if you prefer – and we deliver. Contact us today for your quote on citric acids.

How are you educating your customers on ingredients, and do you have any questions about any other ingredients?

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