If you are an avid fan of home brewing and pride yourself as a connoisseur of all your home brews, you probably have encountered the problem of sourcing for crates. Home brewers can confidently say that the joy of the entire process ends with your brews well bottled and packed in the appropriate crates. Unfortunately, finding crates isn't always an easy undertaking for many brewers. The worst case scenario is finding crates that end up being inappropriate for your brews. You don't want your fine artistic work ending up ruined by poor crate choice. The following are some considerations every home brewer should make when sourcing for crates for their finished hobby.
Your bottle choice very much influences the appropriate crates for you. The size of the bottles determines the appropriate crate size, partition size and even how you will stack the crates. While some people opt for regular sizes that go with many types of crates, several home brewers would rather use a more customised bottle type that may introduce crating problems. If you fall in this category, you may want to contact industrial crates suppliers and ask for some customisation of either the available crates or a re-making of the crates.
Although seemingly inconsequential, partitions in your crates are very important. Partitions are especially useful if you will have to transport your ales and wines over long distances to brewing swaps, family gatherings or other events. For those who hate the clank-clank of bottles while you drive, partitions are definitely a requirement. Partitions also help to reduce the chances of one bottle making the whole crate go 'boom'-- a brewers worst nightmare.
The strength of the crates is also important for those who store their brews. If you stack your brews in the garage or in your microbrewery, you may want to consider that the stacked weight increases with every crate added on top. Industrial crates are usually quite robust and strong. The same can be said of some wooden crates.
Finally, it may not seem so at first, but crates may get costlier than anticipated with time. A good home brewer will source for the cheapest crates in several places. The first obvious place is on the internet. Several crates suppliers also give very cheap prices on used or recycled crates. A few bars and distribution shops will give you the occasional free crate, but these are rare. The best option is to find an affordable partner who can easily supply what you need, when you need it and in the best condition.