Tuesday, June 1, 2010


So I've been spending some extra time doing a little volunteering. I head over to the Orlando Brewing Company, and they've got a little volunteer program where I can help out in the back. I thought this was great, get to know some people, get some experience, figure out how a brewery really works. What I didn't realize, is they pay you. In beer.

A beer an hour as a matter of fact. You can cash it out immediately, after your shift, or anytime you want. Thing is, I'm not there for the beer. So I've already racked up over ten free beers. That's one hell of a banger.

Day one was on the labeling machine. Easy enough. Next to the machine was a pallet of bottles. Which must have contained over 5000 bottles, stacked 8 feet tall, all wrapped in saran wrap. It looked like something at an abstract art show, except with purpose. And form. On the other side of the labeler was a stack of empty crates, and an empty pallet. All I had to do was fill two pallets. Crates 3 wide, 4 deep, and 5 tall. That's 60 crates per pallet. 25 bottles per crate (for some reason that doesn't sound right to me, feel free to correct me). Times 2 crates. Yeah, that's right,  I labeled 3000 bottles. That's more than you homebrewers. Ha. Did I drink them? No. Still...

Getting geeky for a second, I thought how the machine fed the labels was very interesting. It has a sensor that reads when a bottle passes, then another sensor that detects the break in between the labels. That's cool because it enables the machine to use any different width label that you want. Versatile. Anyway, back to the normal world... 

The other days I spent most of my time helping out bottling beers, all while in awe of this brewing system right next to me. Someday... Someday... So far I've got about 4 pallets of bottle-filling under my belt. If my memory serves me, we bottled a blonde, a pale, and a red. My duty was to wash the cases and wheel them into the refrigerator once they came off the machine (which is adorned with a wizard, had to throw that one in there). Now the warehouse isn't exactly conditioned. So you'd think that in Florida that refrigerator would be nice to walk in and out of. And it is, at first. But once you get all nasty and sweaty, it gets cold as %#@!. Oh well. The pain we edure to help a cause.

On a last note, and I probably should have expected this, but the people working at the brewery are awesome. Cool group of people (and no, I'm not sucking up to them). Where else do you have an owner come over and help you out with the grunt work? In the engineering world you get to staple stuff for your boss.


  1. Nice post, it sounds like you're really getting some good experience!

  2. not hard to believe the ppl in the brewery are awesome. mmm makes me want a beer!

    The Kissters

  3. I wish I lived in Florida. I'd be doing some serious volunteering.

  4. There's nothing stopping you! Florida is great! And the more people come, the more it will help our housing market...

  5. nice post, keep blogging,...