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Thanks to the rise in popularity of craft brewing and local wineries, more warehouses than ever before are getting into the wine & alcohol storage game.

From kegs of locally produced IPAs to fine oak barrels of whiskey and merlot (not in the same barrel, of course), a lot of alcohol producers have been turning to offsite storage solutions to help keep their excess supply safe and available when needed.

Of course, these products require a lot more temperature control and product safety than dry goods (pardon the pun), and the requirements of storing alcohol might catch you off guard if you’re not used to storing perishables. If you need some advice on storing your wine and alcohol, here’s a few tips to start with:

Be a control freak

By this we mean temperature control, not micro-management. Much like food storage, wine and other alcohols need to be stored at specific temperatures. While these temperature ranges can vary depending on what alcohol you’re storing, 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for wine, and beer will almost always need to be refrigerated after the brewing process has completed. For temperatures like this you’re going to need some storage that can stand the weather, like walk in cooler shelving or even standard wire shelving that can resist rust and stay intact in colder situations.

Keep an eye on your humidity

One of the most damaging things you can do to wine or other alcohols in storage is to expose it to changing humidity. Air that’s too dry can cause damage to the cork and barrels, air with too much moisture can cause mold and contamination, and it’s a constant struggle to make sure the right conditions are being maintained.

There’s a few things you can do to prevent this. The most obvious is to constantly monitor the temperature of your warehouse to keep it regulated through the entire warehouse, not just the area where the alcohol is being stored (as inconsistent temperatures in the same building can lead to humidity buildup). A big contributor to humidity fluctuations is the conditions outside, too – make sure your doors and windows are properly insulated from the outside world, and try to use the fastest doors possible to stop the changing conditions outside from having much impact on your wine stores. (Keeping your wine far away from any large doors or major loading docks is a big help too.)

Use the right lighting

Previously dismissed as the crazy rantings of wine snobs, the effects of UV lighting on wine and alcohol has been demonstrated to have a negative effect on the taste, longevity, and consistency of the alcohol. Make sure your wine is exposed to absolutely no UV lighting, whether from artificial sources or direct sunlight, and use industrial LED lighting as often as possible throughout the warehouse to keep the product as safe as possible.

Proper handling

Transporting wine introduces a new wealth of problems that any alcohol storage facility needs to overcome. Make sure any vehicles you use to transport wine are kept as clean as the facility itself is, as well as any loading docks it might encounter along the way. You also need to prevent your alcohol from getting vibrated during transport (to prevent settling or ‘flatness’) and make sure everything is packed properly and safely to prevent vibration on the move. You can’t do much to control the alcohol after it’s left your facility or before it arrives, but you can least start its journey on the right foot.

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