Serving the St. Louis Region, Mid-Missouri and Metro East

Serving the St. Louis Region, Mid-Missouri and Metro East

Contractor Magazine Profiles Logboat Brewery Automation Project

IFS Automation Project - Logboat Brewery - Columbia, Missouri (2)

COLUMBIA, MO – Integrated Facility Services (IFS) recently automated Logboat Brewing Company’s building control system to increase operational efficiency while safeguarding the system from harsh environmental factors.

The Logboat Brewery takes its name from the dugout canoes that the native peoples of the region—mainly Osage, Missouria and Illinois—used to travel and trade on the Missouri River. The brewery offers a wide range of year-round beers as well as seasonal specialty brews. The Logboat brewers take pride in innovating and experimenting to constantly offer their customers something new, fresh and interesting.

To that end, managing the flow and temperature of the water used in the brewing process has been essential. The brewery had been using a control panel built by Head Brewer and Cider Maker Josh Rein using over-the-counter components. But when the time came to expand the brewery (and its taproom), Rein decided to reach out to the controls and systems experts at IFS.

Integrated Facility Services

IFS is the fifth largest mechanical contractor in the St. Louis region according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Established in 1966, the company is a full-service HVAC, plumbing, piping, fire protection, and building automation firm with over 250 professional and trade employees. IFS delivers integrated mechanical engineering and construction, installation, service and planned maintenance, and energy conservation solutions to its clients.

“This is one of those projects that morphed as it grew,” Chris Ruth, Mid-Missouri Controls Manager for IFS explained. Ruth has been with IFS for nineteen years, and currently manages the company’s building automation and energy management division across most of the state.

“On the process side of the brewing, they have these big control panels that have a bunch of switches and some little temperature controllers, just small devices in them,” Ruth said. Rein told him that, for the expansion, he wanted something that looked more professional. “Our original approach was just to build him the panel that he was going to build himself, using the same parts but using our skilled labor.”

But that approach changed. The existing set-up was a complicated affair, with multiple devices, each one monitoring the temperature against a set point, each in control of its own solenoid.

“I said, you can have a dozen of these things in this panel or we can put this on one of our building automation controllers,” Ruth said, “and instead we can have a touch screen display for it—so, an actual human-machine interface to simplify things.” As an added benefit, the final product would be a lot more impressive to people on the brewery tour.  

Reliable Controls

IFS installed custom-built control panels featuring Reliable Controls, which allow real-time monitoring, regulating and adjustments of temperature, pressure and flow rates. Installation and commissioning was overseeing by Controls Foreman, Ryan Goodman. The panels monitor and control the pumps and the valves from both existing building and their expansion.

“They are able to move the water to where they need it when they need it, depending on what which vats they’re using, depending on what product they’re brewing,” Ruth said. “Water gets used for the beer-making, but it also plays an important role in cooling. They cool the beer mash with water, and also cooling cans in part of their canning process.”

The actual control interface was fine-tuned to the needs of the user, who was familiar enough with building control schemes to know what he did and didn’t need.

“[Josh Rein] told me, ‘My focus is on the beer. I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time messing with stuff. I want to be able to set the temperature I want, I want to be able to tell it if I’m brewing or canning, I want to tell it what the speed of the pump needs to be, and then I want to get back to my beer,’” Ruth said.

Finishing Touches

IFS installed Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) to direct the water flow between the brewing house and the canning lines, which can be changed on demand whenever needed. This enhancement will streamline operations and empower the brewery to meet growing consumer demands with agility and precision.

IFS selected NEMA 4 panels for the enclosures. The panels are crucial for breweries, protecting against dust, and other contaminants that can damage equipment and cause electrical failures.

Logboat can now monitor and adjust its brewing systems both onsite and remotely in real-time thanks to the new automation system, ensuring maximum efficiency in the brewing process. The upgrade provides flexibility for changing production demands, facilitates energy management strategies, optimizes beer quality and reduces operational costs.

Best of all, the brewery remained fully operational throughout the expansion project. IFS’ portion of the work took about six weeks from start to finish. The expansion saw its grand opening back in October of 2023.  

“The project team brought expertise and dedication to this project,” Josh Rein said. “Their commitment to excellence and out-of-the-box thinking have truly made a difference and been a valuable asset.”

For Chris Ruth—who was a fan of Logboat beers even before coming to the job—he’s glad to have a satisfied client. “The beer still tastes great,” Ruth said, “so I guess our part of the project went pretty well.”

For more information about Integrated Facility Services, visit www.intfs.com.

For more information about The Logboat Brewing Co., visit https://www.logboatbrewing.com/.