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Case Studies » Our Vodka

The challenge

A visit was made to the Our/Vodka site in Hackney, London in June 2015 to consider compliance in respect of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). The ‘Our/Vodka’ brand covers cities around the world under the direction of Pernod-Ricard and Our/London is one product location repeating the company micro-distillation theme.

The DSEAR focus was primarily upon arrangements for handling of flammable liquid associated with production, blending and bottling of an alcoholic beverage. Other specific areas include potential storage of raw material feedstock, packaged goods and combustible materials.

The solution provided

IBC containers of alcohol-rich spirit would be delivered to site several times a year and transferred to the dedicated storage vessels; empty IBC‘s would be removed promptly. Subsequent processing will dilute spirit so that alcohol concentration will reduce to around 40% at the final blending stage. The vapour flashpoint will vary according to proof because Ethanol is completely soluble in water.

Ethanol liquid and vapour was thus the most significant hazardous substance identified at the Our / London micro-distillery in Hackney. It was present both as a raw material and in a solution with water as a blended alcoholic beverage – in a specific Vodka formulation.

Ethanol is highly flammable and there is a serious risk of vapour catching fire above 13°C. The assessment identified that bulk spirits present contain varying concentrations of Ethanol and this significantly affects flashpoint – i.e. lowest temperature that solution will form a combustible concentration of gas. In dilute solutions the flammable hazard is reduced – the particular relationship between ‘proof’ and flashpoint for Ethanol/Water solutions was explained in the report provided.

The requirement to install hazardous area classification zones was clearly explained as were the improvement actions the business needed to implement. Overall the risk level for the business was deemed as acceptable; however the importance of addressing the action plan was made very clear.