An expanding Louisiana brand
Founded in 1986…
The Abita Brewing Company is nestled in the piney woods 30 miles north of New Orleans. In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer. They had no idea what they started. Customers loved our beer! By 1994, they outgrew the original site (now our 100-seat brew pub) and moved up the road to a larger facility to keep up with demand.
Abita Brewing Company brews more than 151,000 barrels of beer and 9,100 barrels of root beer in their state-of-the-art brewing facility. Their lagers and ales are brewed in small batches, hand-crafted by a team of dedicated workers with only the highest ideals of quality. This pride, along with their brewing process, is what creates great beverages and a strong brand.
Abita is privately owned and operated by local shareholders, many who have been with them since day one.
How a successful 3rd-party food safety audit increased sales
Customers demand 3rd-party food safety audits
Like most food and beverage companies these days, it’s hard to expand business without having some type of 3rd-party food safety audit certification in place. Each year, we get several calls from food and beverage companies that have recognized that the opportunity to expand business often lies with a successful 3rd-party audit certification. As is the case with Abita Brewing Company. We received the call in the spring of 2019. Abita had an opportunity to expand their production volume but the new potential customers wanted them to have a 3rd-party audit certification in place before they would receive the new business.
They had never had a 3rd-party audit before and knew they needed help from an outside consultant to ensure a quick and successful project.
We had some initial conversations to better understand their customers’ needs, which audit would be a good fit for them and the timeline given to achieve this goal. After we developed a clear pathway to success, Abita decided to move forward with assistance from Food Safety and Quality Services.
Develop an audit success plan
GAP Assessment. Action Plan. Audit Readiness. Celebration.
Once we knew the audit criteria, our next step was to perform a GAP assessment to get a better idea of what procedures were already in place and what would need to be developed and implemented in order to close any gaps and meet all of the audit criteria. Part of the assessment also included a physical inspection to understand things like foot traffic, GMP’s, sanitation, food defense and structural conditions.
We completed the GAP assessment and provided Abita with a formal report of the assessment with a clear list of items that needed attention in order to close gaps and be ready for an auditor. We then worked together to develop and implement new procedures, provide training to employees, strengthen food defense practices and provide guidance with structural improvements. As our progression greatly narrowed down the list of audit needs, we performed an audit readiness assessment to close out any last minute deficiencies and prepare them for their first audit.
Celebration! Abita welcomed their first food safety auditor in January of 2020 and successfully passed with an A grade. In fact, Abita was so happy with our services they requested that we plan 3 unannounced visits per year moving forward in order to make sure they stay on track and continue to receive A grades in the future.
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