Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 14:30

The European project ECOLOGISITCS, co-funded by the Interreg IV-b « North West Europe », is currently organizing a series of exchange and site visit sessions to explore the potential and existant benefits of ICT for the logistics sector. On 15th July, the project visited the distillery of Biercé in Belgium. This study visit allowed the partners of the project to understand the traceability process in the distillery and the specificities related to the field of distillation. 

A few words about distillery of Biercée:
Distillery of Biercée was created in 1946. Starting from a cooperative, it was taken over by Abert Frère in 1995. In 1981, the most well-known product, l’Eau de Villée, was created. The distillery was moved from Biercé to Ragnies in an old farmhouse. The distillery belongs now (in majority) to the group Mestdagh. A staff of 13 people works in the distillery, in charge of different tasks: procurement of raw materials (mainly fruits), production, storage and distribution. Production’s capacity: 1,500-12,000 bottles per day.

Before the visit, Bertrand Tiberghien gave a presentation about Ecologistics project. Yves de Blic gave some additional information about the scenarios designed by the project and insisted on some details of 2 scenarios in the food industry: mayonnaise and chocolate factory.

M. Mulatin, responsible of the supply chain of the distillery was unfortunately unavailable for the visit. His collaborator, Mr. Pierre Gérard, who is also the responsible of R&D replaced him and guided the visit. As our project is interested in the traceability aspect, the visit focused mainly on it.

Mr. Gérard explained that the traceability aspects become very important due to the stricter and stricter requests from the customers. Moreover, the distillery must follow the excise rules (control of excise from Belgian excise office), so the stock must be correct and stable for the controls (which are quite regular, at least 1 per year or even several times per year). There are 2 kinds of stocks: general and excise. So the stock movement must be followed regularly.

In case of loss (production issues, broken bottles), they have to inform immediately the excise office. If the loss is important, an on-site reporting from the excise office will be needed.

It is mandatory to declare the excise during the production process. This is a kind of auto-control for the distillery. Moreover, there is control from APSCA and HACCP. So the internal traceability is fine. The traceability is done by lot identification during the production process.

There are two processes of production:
-    Maceration: fruits are emerged in alcohol
-    Fermentation: fruits and juice converted to alcohol

When each process is launched, for the traceability aspect, they record the number of batch of the fruits and the number of vat. HACCP requests to clean the vat after each use.

Distillation is the next step in the production process. 3 components will be extracted after the distillation:
1/ “Head”: a kind of waste (it contains methanol) so this will be separated from other elements and will be used in agriculture.
2/ “Heart”: good alcohol (70° alcohol) base for production of final products.
3/ “Tail”: bad quality alcohol so this will be reused for the production (in the still).

The traceability during the distillation is done based on the day, vat number, still number…

On the invoice, there is no information about the batch but with the date of invoice, they are able to identify which batch was used (each batch is used during a certain period: from one date to another).

The produced alcohol (70°) will be stored during 2 years. Then they will mix it with water. For traceability, they note the vat number and water lot (invoice number of the supplier of water).

The distillery of Biercée is a member of GS1. They use barcode and GLN. They use more and more barcodes because they sell more and more products in supermarkets. SSCC on pallet will be put following the request of the customers (SSCC is provided by customers) and the same for the batch number.

They use Delhaize Trustbox (promoted by GS1 Belux), which is a tool for online purchase (the consumers have access to all information relating to the product: ingredients, nutrition facts…)

They deliver goods to customers (wholesaler, restaurants and supermarkets). Some customers come to the distillery and pick goods up themselves.

The project Ecologistics’ demonstrator is interesting but at this stage, according to Mr. Gérard, the most urgent is to update their computer system.

Some pictures of the visit: