An Introduction to the Beverage and Drinks Industry

Description of the sector

The beverage industry consists of two main categories and eight subgroups. The category of non-alcoholic drinks it includes: the manufacture of syrups for refreshing drinks; the bottling and canning of water and soft drinks; bottling, canning and packaging in fruit juice boxes; the coffee industry; and the tea industry. The category of drinks alcoholic beverages include distilled spirits, wine and beer.

Evolution of the industry

Although many of these drinks, including beer, wine and tea, they have existed for thousands of years, their industry has developed over the past centuries. The beverage industry, considered from a point of global view, it appears very fragmented, which is evident due to the large number of manufacturers, packaging methods, of production processes and final products. Industry of refreshing beverages constitutes the exception to the rule, for she’s pretty focused. Although the beverage industry is fragmented, it follows a process of consolidation from the 1970s, so the situation is changing. Since the beginning of the century, beverage companies have evolved from the regional companies that produced items intended mainly for local markets to the today’s giant companies, which make products for international markets. This change began when the companies in the sector adopted mass production techniques that allowed them to expand. In addition, during this time, advances were made in the packaging of products and in the processes that greatly increased the period of validity of the products. Airtight containers for tea they prevent the absorption of moisture, which represents the main cause of loss of taste, and the appearance of the appliances cooling system allowed brewing in the months of summer.

Economic importance

The beverage industry employs several million people all over the world, and each type of drink produces an income on the order of trillions of dollars annually. There is no doubt that in some small developing countries coffee production is the the main support of the global economy.

Characteristics of the active population

Although the ingredients and production methods of the drinks vary, the personnel employed in this industry usually present many features in common. In the process of collection of the raw materials, whether they are coffee beans, barley, hops, or grapes, is employed to individuals or families of low income, not qualified. In addition to being its main source income, harvesting largely determines their culture and lifestyle.

On the other hand, the production of the product requires operations and mechanized, and usually employs semi-skilled manual workers. At the facilities of production and in the storage areas, the most common are those of packaging machine operator and filling, conveyor belt operator and mechanical and manual workers. Training for these positions is carried out in the place itself and is completed with instruction on the work. As technology and automation advance, the number of employees is reduced and the technical training. This semi-qualified manufacturing staff
it usually has the support of a highly qualified technical group, composed of industrial engineers, heads of manufacturing, accountants and technicians in quality assurance/security of food.

In general, beverage companies distribute their products to wholesalers using ordinary means of transport. Without however, manufacturers of refreshing drinks usually they employ drivers to deliver their products directly to the retailers. These commercial drivers represent about one-seventh of the workers in the industry of refreshing drinks.

The fact that in the 1990s there is an increased health concern in Europe and North America has slowed the alcoholic beverage market and increased the demand for non-alcoholic drinks. However, both alcoholic beverages as non-alcoholic beverages are proliferating in the developing countries of Asia, South America and, to some extent, Africa. As as a result of this expansion, many jobs to meet production needs and distribution.



The preparation of the concentrate represents the first stage in the production of refreshing drinks. At the dawn of the industry, in the nineteenth century, concentrates and soft drinks were they manufactured in the same facilities. Sometimes, he sold the concentrated to the consumers, who were preparing their own refreshing drinks. The growth of the beverage market carbonated led to a specialization among the manufacturing of the refreshing drink and the concentrate. Nowadays, a plant concentrate manufacturing company sells its product to several packaging companies.

Concentrate plants are constantly optimizing their procedures using automatic systems. As the demand for concentrate increases, automation allows the manufacturer to meet the needs without expanding the dimensions of the manufacturing plant The sizes of the packaging has also been increasing. At the beginning of industry, 1/2, 1, and 5 gallon containers were the most FAQs. Today 40 and 50 gallon drums are used and even tankers with a capacity of 3,000 and 4,000 gallons. The operations that are carried out in a concentrate manufacturing plant can be divided into five basic processes:

  1. water treatment
  2. receipt of raw materials
  3. manufacture of the concentrate
  4. filling of concentrate and additives
  5. transportation of the finished products

Each of these processes involves health risks that they can be measured and controlled. Water is a very important component important of the concentrate and must have an excellent quality. Each concentrate plant treats the water until the desired quality and that it is free of microorganisms. Water treatment is monitored during all stages.

When the factory receives the ingredients, it proceeds to the inspection, sampling and analysis of the same in the quality control department. In the process of manufacturing the concentrate, only materials are used that have passed the tests. Some raw materials are received in tankers and require special handling. The packaging material is also received, which is evaluated and it analyzes in the same way as raw materials. For the manufacture of the concentrate, the treated water and the liquid and solid ingredients are pumped into tanks of stainless steel, where they are mixed, homogenized and/or concentrate according to the manufacturing instructions. Tank they hold 50 gallons, 10,000 gallons and even more.

They must be completely cleaned and disinfected in the time of mixing. Once the concentrate is manufactured, it reaches the stage of fill. All products are conducted by pipelines to the filling room. Before starting the process, the machines must be completely clean and disinfected. Most of the filling machines are used for container sizes specific. The products are kept inside the pipes and the tanks during the filling process to avoid contamination. Each container must be labeled with the name of the product and the risks of handling (if applicable). The filled containers are moved with conveyor machines to the area of packaging, they are stacked on shelves and wrapped with plastic or they are tied up before storing. In addition to the concentrates, it they pack the additives that are used for the preparation of carbonated drinks. Many of these additives are introduced into plastic bags and are placed in boxes. Already in the warehouse, the products are distributed and conditioned to send them to the various bottling companies. Labeling must comply with government standards. If the products are destined for another country, the label must comply with the the labelling requirements of that country.

Risk prevention

The risks that exist in a concentrate manufacturing plant vary depending on the products manufactured and the dimensions of the factory. Concentrate factories have a low rate of injuries due to the high degree of mechanization and manipulation automated. The materials are handled with elevators of fork and the filled containers are placed on shelves by automatic stackers. Although workers do not have to employing, in general, excessive force to perform its work, injuries related to weight lifting they remain a cause for concern. The main risks arise from moving engines and equipment, objects falling out of containers that are on top of the head, electrical risks in repair and maintenance operations, risks in confined spaces due to cleaning operations of mixing tanks, noise, accidents with elevators and hazardous chemical cleaning agents. For more information on risks and precautions, see the article “Bottling and packaging of soft drinks”.



In most of the established markets around the world, the refreshing drinks occupy the first place among drinks manufactured, surpassing even milk and coffee in terms of consumption “per capita”. Among ready-to-drink packaged products and mixtures to bulk for jet dispensing, refreshing drinks are available in almost every imaginable size and flavor and in virtually all distribution channels to retailers. In addition to this universal availability, the growth of the category of refreshing drinks can be attributed, in good measure, to a convenient packaging. Since consumers they are increasingly mobile, they have opted for packaged items that are easy to transport. With the arrival of the boats of aluminum and, more recently, from plastic bottles with screw cap, refreshing beverage containers have been made lighter and more manageable.

The rigorous quality control standards applied to the water treatment processes and technological advances in the they have also given the soft drinks industry a high degree of confidence about the purity of the product. In addition, the manufacturing and bottling plants that produce soft drinks have been transformed into highly mechanized, efficient and perfectly clean.

In the early 1960s, most bottlers produced beverages with machinery that processed 150 bottles per minute. Since the demand for the product has increased rapidly, manufacturers of soft drinks have introduced faster machinery. Thanks to advances in production technology, filling lines are now capable of processing more than 1,200 containers per minute, with minimal loss of time, except to perform the product or flavor changes. This highly automated environment has enabled manufacturers of refreshing beverages reducing the number of workers needed in supply chains production (see Figure 65.1). With everything, and even when there significantly increased production efficiency, the safety of the factory is still an important aspect of consideration.

The bottling or manufacture of soft drinks it comprises five main processes, each of which it raises security issues that need to be evaluated and control:

  1. water treatment
  2. ingredients of the composition
  3. carbonation of products
  4. filling of the products
  5. packaging

The manufacture of refreshing drinks starts with water, which is treated and debugged to strictly comply with the standards of quality control, which are usually above the quality of the
local water supply. This process is critical to get a high-quality product and with adequate characteristics of flavor.

As the ingredients combine, the water treated is conducted through pipes to large tanks of stainless steel. This is the stage when they are added and mixed various ingredients. Diet drinks are mixed with artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame or saccharin, while liquid sugars, such as fructose or sucrose, are usually used in sweetened drinks. During this stage of the production process is when the dyes are added food. The effervescent flavored waters receive the desired flavoring and the natural waters are stored in the mixing tanks until they are needed in the lines of fill.

A common practice among bottling companies is to acquire the concentrate from other companies. In order for carbonation [absorption of carbon dioxide] to occur, carbon dioxide (CO2)], soft drinks are cooled in large ammonia-based refrigeration systems. This is which gives the carbonated products their effervescence and texture. CO2 is stored in a liquid state and transferred to through pipes to the carbonation units as they it is needed. The process can be manipulated to control the absorption rate required by each type of drink. Depending on the product, refreshing drinks may contain from 15 to 75 psi of CO2. Refreshing drinks with the taste of fruits tend to have less carbonation than colas or the sparkling water. Once carbonated, the products are ready to be packaged in bottles or jars. The filling room is normally located separately from the the rest of the installation, to protect the open product from any possible contaminant. The highly automated filling operation requires a minimum number of personnel.

The operators of the filling plant they control the efficiency of the installation, adding caps or stoppers in bulk if necessary. The empty bottles and canisters are automatically transported to the filling machine by the handling of bulk material. Throughout the production process, strict quality control procedures. Technicians measure numerous variables, including CO2, sugar content and taste, to ensure that the finished products meet the required quality standards.

Packaging is the last stage before storage and transportation. This process has also been automated to a great measure. In compliance with certain requirements of the markets, the bottles or canisters enter the packaging machinery and they can be wrapped with cardboard to form boxes or placed in trays or frames made of recoverable plastic. The packaged products then enter the stacking machine which automatically places them on the pallets. The loaded pallets are then moved-usually with a forklift— to the warehouse, where they are stored.



Wine is produced from grapes. When the grape is crushed matures the must is obtained, which by normal fermentation, total or partially, it turns into wine. During the fermentation, at first fast and turbulent and then slower, the sugar is converts to alcohol and carbon dioxide, but many of the elements contained in grapes remain in the drink. The different phases of activity of wine production from the grapes are: the winemaking, the storage and the bottle.

Wine making

Winemaking comprises a number of activities in which methods are employed ranging from the “production of traditional “farm” to Moderna industrial production. The old method of pressing grapes, in which the harvesters they were treading during the night on the grapes they had picked during day, it is used less and less in the Moderna elaboration of the wine. Currently, wine is produced in facilities belonging to groups of winegrowers or commercial companies, with techniques that allow to produce a more uniform type of wine and they reduce the risk of maculature and, in particular, acidification that transforms wine into vinegar.

Upon arrival at the wineries, the grapes are pressed in simple mills or in large machines, such as centrifugal presses, rollers or other methods. These processes always involve mechanical and noise risks during the entire time they are handled large quantities of wort. The crushed matter is transferred then to large reservoirs, by pumping or other procedures, where it is pressed to separate the juice from the skins and the stem. Then the wort is transferred to the barrels of fermentation. After the fermentation is complete, the wine is extracted from the mother and poured into jars or storage tanks. Foreign matter and impurities are removed with filter. In some countries, such as the United States, the land diatomaceous earth has replaced asbestos as a filtering agent. Larger foreign bodies are removed with centrifuges.

The quality of the wine can be improved by refrigeration in continuous-flow refrigerators and refrigeration tanks of double wall. In these operations, the exposure to the vapors and gases released during the various stages of the process – especially harvesting, fermentation and the use of disinfectants and other products to ensure the hygienic conditions of the process and the quality of the wine. The refrigerant gases, such as ammonia, present risks of poisoning and explosion, so it is essential to have a proper ventilation and carry out strict maintenance to prevent leakage. It must have automatic systems of leak detection and respiratory protective equipment frequently checked for emergencies. There are also the common risks due to wet and slippery floor, the disorder characteristic of seasonal activities and the quality of lighting and ventilation (the premises in which the prepares wine they are often used also as a storehouse and they are designed to maintain a relatively low uniform temperature).

Particularly significant are the asphyxiation risks derived from the alcohol and carbon dioxide vapors released in the fermentation processes, especially when liquids are transported and decanted in cisterns or confined spaces with insufficient ventilation. Other harmful substances are they are used in the production of wine. The metabisulfite in solution concentrated is an irritant to the skin and mucous membranes; tartaric acid, which is not considered toxic, can cause a slight irritation in highly concentrated solutions; sulfur dioxide causes intense irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract.
respiratory; tannins dry out the skin and cause a loss of pigmentation; the use of disinfectants and detergents for the cleaning of storage tanks causes dermatitis; and potassium bitartrate, ascorbic acid, proteolytic enzymes, etc., which are usually used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages, can lead to the appearance of diarrhea or allergic reactions. allergic.

When work processes are modernized, workers often need support and assistance to adapt to such modernization. Large wineries should keep in mind the ergonomic principles when choosing machinery for its facilities. Crushers and presses should be easy to access to facilitate the dumping of grapes and waste. Where where possible, appropriate pumps shall be installed to facilitate their inspection and have a solid foundation so as not to cause obstructions, high noise levels or vibrations.

The general layout of the producing cellar should be such that no unnecessary risks are created and that the existing risks do not spread to other areas; ventilation must comply with the regulations; the temperature must be controlled; they must be installed compressors, capacitors, electrical equipment and the like for avoid all possible risks. As a consequence of the moisture of various processes, it is necessary to protect the equipment electrical and, if possible, use low voltages, especially in portable equipment and inspection lamps. When necessary, grounded circuit breakers will be installed for cases of breakdown. The electrical equipment in the vicinity of the distillation plants should be made of non-flammable material.

Wooden jars are being used less and less, although occasionally they are found in small “farm production” cellars. In the Moderna wine making, the jars are made of glass or stainless steel for hygienic or control; those built with reinforced concrete and sometimes plastic are also used. The jars must be of dimensions suitable, resistant to fermentation and decantation (separation from the mother), have a reserve volume as large as necessary and, if necessary, allow the exchange of contents with ease. The cleaning of the containers represents a high risk and must be carried out following a confined space program: the gas will be extracted by mobile fans before accessing the containers and will be they will be wearing seat belts, life ropes and safety equipment. respiratory protection. A competent worker should be placed outside to monitor and rescue workers from the interior if necessary. For more information, see the box about confined spaces.


aluminum cans

Brewing is one of the oldest industries of the world: beer, in its different varieties, was already drunk in ancient times and the Romans introduced it in all their colonies. Today it is made and consumed in almost all countries, especially in Europe and in the European domain areas.

Brief description of the process

The cereal used as a raw material is usually barley, although rye, corn, rice and oats are also used. In the first stage the cereal is malted, well making it germinate, well by artificial means. This process transforms carbohydrates in dextrin and maltose, sugars that are then extracted from the grain by immersing it in a mixing tub (jar or barrel) and shaking it in a fermentation tank. The resulting liquor, known as a sweet wort, it is boiled in a copper kettle with hops, which gives it the bitter taste and helps to preserve the beer.

The hops are then separated from the wort and passed through from refrigerators to the inside of the fermentation vessels, where the yeasts are added—a process known as priming — and the main process is carried out, which is the conversion of sugar into alcohol. The beer is then cooled to 0°C, centrifuged and clarified by filtration, whereby is prepared for shipment in barrels, bottles, jars of aluminum or large panel. Figure 65.8 provides a diagram of flow of the brewing process.

Risks and their prevention

Manual work

Manual labor is the cause of most of the injuries that are produced in breweries: crushed hands, cut or punctured by jagged rings, wood chips and broken glass. They also bruise and crush their feet with falling or rolling barrels. A lot can be done to avoid these accidents with proper hand protection and feet. Increasing automation and standardization of the size of the barrels (for example: 50 L) can reduce the risks arising from weight lifting. Back pain caused by the lifting and transportation of barrels can be reduce radically with a training on healthy techniques of rising. The mechanical handling of the pallets also reduces ergonomic problems. Falls on wet soils and sliding are very common. The best precaution is have non-slip surfaces and footwear and a system regular cleaning.

The manipulation of the pimple can produce the so-called itching of barley, caused by a mite infesting the cereal. It has been described millers asthma, sometimes called malt fever, in people who handle cereals and it has been shown that it treats an allergic response to the cereal weevil (Sitophilus granarius). Manipulation of hops can lead to dermatitis by the absorption of resinous essences through the cut skin or cracked. Among the preventive measures are some good toilet and sanitary facilities, effective ventilation of the work premises and the medical examination of the worker.


If the malt is stored in silos, the opening must be protected and the rules in the field of personnel entry, as described in the box about confined spaces of this chapter. Conveyor machines are widely used in bottling plants; it can be prevent workers from getting caught between the straps and drums using effective machinery protections. It should an effective program on blocking machines and warning signs for maintenance and repair purposes. Where there are passageways through or above the belts conveyors, stop buttons must be installed. In the filling process, bursting bottles may cause very serious injuries; adequate protections for machinery and face shields, rubber gloves, rubber aprons and non-slip boots for workers can prevent the injure.


Due to the prevailing humidity conditions, the facilities and electrical equipment need special protection, and this is it applies especially to portable devices. Where required, grounded circuit breakers must be installed for breakdowns and, where possible, use low voltages, especially in portable inspection lamps. The steam is it uses a lot, so burns and scalds are frequent; insulation and protection should be provided to the pipes and to the safety closures of the steam valves, which they will prevent accidental release of steam.


There have been cases of gas poisoning during the coating of jars with protective coatings containing toxic substances such as trichloroethylene. Precautions similar to those mentioned above should be taken for the dioxide of carbon.

Refrigerating gases

Refrigeration is used to cool the hot wort before fermentation and for storage purposes. An accidental spillage of refrigerants can produce serious toxic and irritating. In the past, the most commonly used were chloromethane, bromoethane, sulfur dioxide and ammonia, but it is currently it mainly uses ammonia. Adequate ventilation and a careful maintenance will avoid most of the risks, but leak detectors and breathing apparatus must be installed from compressed air for emergencies, which will be tested with frequency. It may also be necessary to take precautions against the risks of explosion (e.g. electrical accessories flameproof, removal of those that are exposed to air).

Working in hot conditions

In some processes, such as cleaning mixing tubs, the workers are exposed to heat and humid conditions while doing heavy work; there have been cases of congestion and heat cramps, especially in those who are new at work. These conditions can be avoided by increasing the ingestion of salt, respecting adequate periods of rest and
installing and using showers. Medical supervision is necessary to prevent mycosis on the feet (athlete’s foot), which spreads quickly in conditions of humidity and temperatures high.

In all areas of the factory, the temperature control and ventilation, with special attention to the removal of steam and the provision of PPE are important precautions, not only against accidents and injuries but also against the risks more general of humidity, heat and cold (for example, clothes of coat for workers of cold premises). A control must be established to prevent workers from make an excessive consumption of the product that is manufactured and have alternative hot drinks at meals.


When the metal barrels replaced the barrels of recently, the brewers were faced with a serious problem of noise. The wooden barrels hardly made any noise during the loading, handling or by rolling them, but the metal barrels when they are empty they generate high noise levels. The Moderna automatic bottling plants produce a volume of considerable noise. The noise can be reduced by introducing the mechanical handling on pallets. In bottling plants, the replacement of metal drums and guides with nylon or neoprene substantially reduces the noise level.