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The Wise Man’s Choice for Glycol Piping at a North Carolina Brewery

Project

Wise Man Brewery

Products Used
Aquatherm Blue Pipe® 
Location / Date
Winston-Salem, NC
January 2017

Aquatherm Advantages

  • Aquatherm PP-R piping systems proved simple to install, even for first-timers
  • A two-man crew laid more than 600 ft of Aquatherm Blue Pipe in just a few days
  • Recyclable Aquatherm piping installs cleaner and neater than most systems
 wiseman brewery

The Challenge

A beer-hobbyist-turned-professional needed a glycol piping system for the craft brewery he wanted to build inside a 1920s brick wholesale facility

 

The Solution

After seeing first-hand that Aquatherm’s heat-fusion welding technique creates perfectly homogeneous joints without borders, seams, or bubbles, the brewery owner didn’t want to consider any other piping product


wiseman brewery

AQUATHERM PP-R PIPING’S RELIABILITY AND SIMPLE INSTALLATION HELP BEER HOBBYIST GO PRO

Since 2011, the number of U.S. craft breweries has increased in every state, including North Carolina, which currently ranks ninth in the country for its relatively high number of craft breweries. Fortunately for beer-hobbyist-turned- professional Sam Victory, there’s still plenty of room in his home state for per capita craft-brewery growth. Victory, a professional chemist as well as head brewer, and his partners Jason Morehead and Mike Beverly, opened the doors to Wise Man Brewery in Winston-Salem, NC, in January 2017. Bringing this dream to life was a long and arduous process that made Victory appreciate the easier parts of starting a brewery—like choosing reliable and easily expandable glycol piping. His selection of Aquatherm polypropylene-random (PP-R) pipe for Wise Man’s glycol piping system puts him and his partners in a good position to keep up with North Carolina’s growing thirst for craft beer.

“Aquatherm has all of the physical properties you want for brewery piping. And the price is comparable to if not better than other piping systems of similar quality,” said Victory, who coordinated most of the construction at the brewery.

As head brewer, Victory was especially involved in the selection of equipment for the brewing process and spoke extensively with other professional brewers throughout the state about their own systems. Certain names kept coming up, including Aquatherm.

Kevin Payne, Product Manager for Ferguson Enterprises and Aquatherm’s rep for South Carolina, introduced Victory to Aquatherm Blue Pipe®, which has become a frequent alternative to copper and steel in many cooling applications. Like all Aquatherm PP-R piping, it has an extremely low instance of leaks or failures as a result of the heat-fusion method used to join piping components.

wiseman brewery

Payne gave the brewer a chance to heat fuse some pipe himself so he could get a feel for the integrity of a PP-R system. After a quick lesson, Victory heat fused a few pieces of pipe together using socket fusion, a simple process that uses a socket welder to heat the ends of the PP-R pipe and fitting so the two can be pushed together and joined. A proper socket fusion involves cutting the pipe, marking it for insertion depth, heating the pipe and fitting for a specified time, and pushing them together before they cool. Then as the pipe and fitting cool, the two pieces become one.

detroit-CS1

A revelatory moment came when Payne used a pipe cutter to slice through Victory’s first heat-fused joint to reveal a perfectly homogeneous cross-section of pipe, with no borders, seams, or bubbles present.

“That was impressive,” Victory recalled.

The moment resonated with Victory, who, along with his partners, has endured all of the stresses, delays, and setbacks that come with starting a brand new, highly regulated business. Like many craft breweries, the Wise Man partners opted for the character and location of an existing downtown structure—in this case, a circa-1920, two-story brick structure and former wholesale space. With 7,400 sq ft of space and ample parking, the location was well-suited for the brewery and a taproom, but like any old structure, it came with numerous construction challenges.

“[ Aquatherm PP-R piping systems] look better and are simpler to install. I’d like to see more engineers specify them.”
–Jim Fields, Vice President, Superior Mechanical, Kernersville, NC

Fortunately, selecting the glycol piping was not one of them. After that first hands-on introduction to Aquatherm, Victory never considered any other pipe.