The Erie Canal, one of America’s oldest manmade waterways, again proved its worth. A dozen oversized brewery tanks make the trip from Ningbo, China to the Genesee Brewery in Rochester, New York. Is this a new beginning for the old waterway?
In the midst of a $40 million modernization effort, New York’s venerable Genesee Brewery ordered 40 new tanks for more than $2 million from Chinese brewery equipment manufacturer, Lehui. A dozen of these tanks, used in fermentation, measured 60 feet tlong by 20 feet in diameter. That meant major transportation challenges for the state’s oldest brewery, located in Rochester.
Conventional thinking would lead the tanks through Canada and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Lake Ontario. But moving barges or ships through Lake Ontario has serious monetary and logistical issues. The novel solution, offered and executed by logistics provider and project cargo specialist Welton Shipping, transported the tanks from the Port of Albany on barges to Rochester via the Erie Canal.
Yes, that Erie Canal, the one we sung about as kids, about a mule named Sal and low bridges, everybody down.
“The Erie Canal was something you learned about when you were growing up,” said Mark Fabrizio, the director of project management and continuous improvement of Genesee Brewery’s parent company, North American Breweries. He admitted to some initial skepticism. “Our initial response was ‘really?’ We were quite surprised it was an option.”
During the summer, the canal is full of pleasure craft, but not barges groaning under the weight of stainless steel tanks capable of brewing 2,000 barrels, or 62,000 gallons, of beer.
“The canal hasn’t been used like that for a long time,” added Henry Hui, Welton’s vice-president and the person who conceived the plan and led the project. “At the end of the day, I helped a lot of people save a lot of money on this one.”...
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