Brewers Association is producing guidelines for keeping consumers safe


The Brewers Association recently included a local Seattle area brewer as part of a three-person team of industry professionals that will create guidelines intended to help breweries across the nation protect their customers. Doug Hindman, Brewery Operations Manager for Elliott Bay Brewing, is one of three people the BA contracted to develop a resource which will assist craft brewers of all sizes to establish effective food safety preventive controls in all aspects of their brewery operations.

Food safety preventative controls are exactly what they sound like: standards and best practices for producing consumable goods that are safe for the public to eat and drink.

The team consists of Mary Pellettieri, Gary Nicholas, and Doug Hindman. Together they will work to establish clear and understandable food safety guidance for craft brewers, with a specific emphasis on small producers. The goal is to develop a resource that serves as the accepted “industry standard” addressing the implementation of a comprehensive preventive control program in breweries.

Needed, Not Necessarily Required

According to the Brewers Association, “Comprehensive guidance to implement preventive controls is available for many industries but is not applicable to the unique processes used in brewing and fermenting beer.”

In other words, if you are manufacturing spaghetti sauce or dill pickles there are food safety guidelines available, which may even be specific to your particular kind of product, but if you are brewing beer there is no such information currently available.

In most cases, implementing such preventive controls is not a mandated requirement for breweries and other producers of alcoholic beverages. However, according to the Brewers Association, more and more beer consumers expect breweries to have comprehensive food safety plans in place as a condition of doing business. That is, we craft beer consumers care about this kind of stuff, so if a brewery wants to keep customers happy, they need some food safety guidance whether regulated or not. The goal of this program is to provide guidance on how and why breweries should take steps to protect the consumer.

Pellettieri, Nicholas, and Hindman have extensive knowledge with federal- and state-level food safety compliance and are experienced in best practices for the craft brewing industry. Hindman, for instance, was an instrumental part of the team at Elliott Bay Brewing Company when the brewery earned its USDA-certified organic status, which is no easy feat.

The project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019.

Here are the bios for the three team members, as provided by the Brewers Association.

Mary Pellettieri is president and founder of La Pavia Beverage LLC, where she oversees regulatory compliance. The author of Quality Management, Essential Planning for Breweries, Pellettieri has also served as the lead instructor for the BA Basics of Beer Quality Workshop. Pellettieri serves as a consultant with a focus on food safety, risk assessment, hazard control plans, and audited sanitation protocols. Previously, Mary has filled roles addressing quality and compliance issues for MillerCoors, Goose Island, and the Siebel Institute.

Gary Nicholas is the owner and founder of Nicholas Brewing Projects LLC, specializing in consulting and audit services addressing safety, quality, food safety, and training programs. Nicholas is an instructor for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas Packaging Technology Course – Quality Management Systems Module. He has a wide range of experience in breweries of different sizes including Surly Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, and Goose Island Beer Company.

Doug Hindman is the brewery operations manager for Elliot Bay Brewing Company in Seattle, Wash., where he is responsible for all aspects of production management in three Seattle-area brewpubs, as well as a barrel-aged and sour beer production facility. Previous experience includes a production management role with Maritime Pacific Brewing Company. Hindman is also active in the Master Brewers Association of the Americas Food Safety Committee and the Washington Brewers Guild.