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Industry, Food & Beverage Featured

Nashville-Based Brewer Focuses on Quality with Atlas Copco Compressor

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The craft brewing industry has surpassed 5,300 breweries in the United States. That’s three and half times as many as there were 10 years ago.

In a crowded space, craft brewers must stand out as they grow. For Ben Bredesen, founder of Fat Bottom Brewing in Nashville, he has woven these three pillars into his business: 

  1. Always focus on the quality of the beer.
  2. Be considerate of the people who work for you.
  3. Love the beer, but treat it like a business. 

The quality aspect was heavily addressed when Bredesen made the decision to move out of his original 5,000 sq. ft. space in East Nashville to a 33,000 sq. ft. location in the Nations at the beginning of the year.

“We were the typical craft brewery – low ceilings, small dark space,” Bredesen said. “I realized that our overall quality was critical to success.”

Fat Bottom cans its own beer and runs around two-thirds of its volume in cans. So, with the move to a larger facility, Bredesen wanted higher capacity and less labor to handle the beer. Fat Bottom upgraded from a small, piston compressor and oil cleaner on the line to a 30 horsepower scroll compressor after Bredesen noticed leftover oil residue from the old compressor. For him, that was unacceptable. If oil mixes with beer, it can kill the yeast and make the beer less tasty.

Bredesen said the quality of Fat Bottom’s beer is a major differentiator among breweries of their size (around 10K barrels). Not only was the oil-free compressor upgrade great for the quality of Fat Bottom’s beer, but also for the quality of life of its brewers.

“In our old building, we were running at 110 percent capacity for the last year we were in there,” Bredesen said. “Our old compressor was loud. I love how quiet this (new) compressor is.” 

Currently, Fat Bottom is only in Tennessee, but Bredesen said he is confident in the beer’s quality and hopes to expand and become a regional brewery in the next five years. 

“It is a continuous improvement process,” Bredesen said. “We have to make it a part of our culture where everyone from the brewers to the bartender care about the beer.”

 

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