Craft Brewery White Box MES System

Award-winning White Box solution quickly reveals valuable data for Anchor Brewing.

The goal was to build a system that’s versatile, accessible to everyone in the facility and could install in a single day without production line downtime.

Solution A nimble but comprehensive system allows Anchor Brewing to use a single power outlet and single network connection.

Anchor Brewing, located in San Francisco, CA since 1896, is America's first craft brewery.

Requirements We were tasked with automating the gathering of production rates, waste, and downtime while avoiding interrupting production in any way.


Production facilities run at a lightning fast pace and every minute of downtime and each incidence of waste translates to a big cost. The primary challenge was to automate the gathering of production rates, waste, and downtime on a running line without interrupting production in any way; on dozens of customer line and network configurations, PLCs, meters, and brands. In addition, Vertech needed to find a way to create a compact but powerful analysis machine that requires a single power outlet and a single network connection.

Project Stats

1 Unit to Create Entire System
9 Case Configurations
63 Unique Products Run


  • IA Ignition HMI SCADA
  • IA Ignition MES
  • Siemens 1215C PLC
  • Siemens W774 WAP Radio
  • Siemens Switches
  • Siemens Industrial Computers
  • Cisco Wireless VPN Firewall


To fit such a dynamic and varied set of hardware, Vertech utilized Inductive Automation’s Ignition software, which seamlessly connected to the client’s existing control systems, including the PLCs, photo eyes, and flow meters. By supplementing an on-board Siemens PLC, including Vertech’s PLC code for dozens of instruments and scaling routines, we were able create an instant drop-in control system that sits in parallel to existing infrastructure.

The resulting system was installed in days without interrupting production, and takes less than five minutes of operator interaction per shift. It can record and analyze multiple product volumes, configurations, and sized items, which are displayed in a simple, intuitive operator interface and a separate, high-level analysis with cost calculation and graphic generation for supervisors on wireless or hard-wired computer systems.

By creating a dynamic system that utilizes flexible software, the client can quickly and automatically record downtime events and reasons, as well as production information. With the analysis that is provided to supervisors, non-capital efficiency improvements can be identified and informed decisions can be made on the potential return of capital projects.


Ready to take control?

The control freaks at Vertech love a good challenge, and we’re ready to get to work. Drop us a line!