Client: Anheuser-Busch/Grapevine Communications 

Assignment: Write an engaging article on a seemingly ho-hum topic—new chip tanks—for the L.A. brewery’s employee publication.

Tanks Roll Into New Stockhouse

Every night for three weeks, the tanks rolled slowly through the streets of Los Angeles with one destination in mind: the LA Brewery. No, this wasn’t an army of foreign invaders desperate for a Bud. Instead, it was a delivery of 12 new chip tanks for the Brewery’s newest building, Stockhouse 7. 

The tanks already had traveled a long way. First, they were designed and completely built by The Ziemann Group in Germany. Next, they traveled by sea to reach the Port of Long Beach. That’s when the 24-foot-high tanks, which hold 4,800 barrels of beer, began the most challenging part of their journey: navigating the streets of Los Angeles. 

“With tanks of that size, you can’t drive down a street without hitting telephone lines, stoplights and power lines,” explains Ken VonderHarr, BOT Site Manager at the LA Brewery. “Normally, we would have to fabricate the tanks on site.” 

But that’s expensive, and a tank’s quality is much higher when it’s made by its designer and manufacturer. So The Ziemann Group custom-built two special trailers for the tanks and worked with local governments to permanently raise 200 telephone lines. A convoy of “bucket trucks” traveled along with the trailers, carefully lifting the 120 lines that remained in the way as the trailers passed. 

It was slow going, and the trailers had to travel a roundabout, 75-mile route. They also could only travel between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. “It took them two nights to get here, and they could only bring two tanks at a time,” Ken says. “It was quite a production.” 

After three weeks, all the tanks had safely arrived at their new home: Stockhouse 7. This brand new building replaced Stockhouse 1, the original cellar for the Brewery when it opened in 1954. Stockhouse 1 had handled 100 million barrels of beer over 50 years, but was aging and deteriorating. The building has been retired, and will eventually be torn down. 

The new building is much more automated than Stockhouse 1, and the new tanks are several times larger. And on Sept. 26, the first chip tank in Stockhouse 7 filled up with beer and beechwood chips to undergo a secondary fermentation. 

The whole project was a team effort between several groups: the LA Brewing group; the LA Engineering team; BOT Engineering in St. Louis; Parsons Engineering; the architect; and of course, The Ziemann Group, which came up with an ingenious solution—and the lowest bid!