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How Consumer Drinks Are Made

The consumer drinks market started as early as the 12th century. Until then, only stream water was transported. Later, in the 16th century, the concept of aerated mineral water was introduced and then in the 17th century, the production of mineral water was started on a commercial basis. Innovations were being brought and today, there are numerous products to be termed as consumer drinks. Automation was introduced in the industry for efficient production in improving quality.

Types of Consumer Drinks

Major types of consumer drinks include:

  • Mineral water
  • Juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages

Production of Mineral Water

In earlier times, the primary source of water included rivers, streams, rain, underground water, and seas.  People used to store water for their basic needs. The concept of buying and selling bottled water was unknown to man until the 16th century when it was introduced in the 1700s across America and Europe. It was only stream water filled inside a bottle in earlier times but nowadays, innovations are being brought in filtration, filling, and bottling technology to ensure water quality and hygiene. The major processes involved in bottled water production include:

Water Treatment:

Water treatment is a crucial step before production. It is done to ensure the removal of any undissolved elements, undesirable chemicals, and additional mineral elements that can affect either the properties or the quality of water.

The water treatment procedure includes:


The first step is to filter out particles that are either suspended or dissolved. These may contain suspended solids, colloids, biological components, and metallic complexes. The particle size may range from 0.0001 µm to 100 µm. To filter out particles of distinct sizes, various technologies are used in industries, which include:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Nanofiltration
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Microfiltration
  • Filtration


Absorption is a chemical and physical process in which a substance is accumulated on an intermediate surface between two phases, such as solid and liquid. Two operational modes can be used in adsorption: one-way operation and regeneration operation. Adsorption plays an important role in improving water quality by removing undesirable particles. The design of the apparatus used for absorption is similar to the pressure filter used in filtration. Water treatment based on adsorption is accomplished through various techniques used to remove impurities, such as arsenic and manganese. These techniques include the use of activated carbon, manganese dioxide, activated alumina, and granular ferric hydroxide.

Ion Exchange:

This method of water treatment is used for the removal of hardness and demineralization. It is also one of the most widely used techniques in water treatment.

Chemical Oxidation:

This process is used to eliminate chemicals and compounds that might alter the odor, taste, and color of the water. The chemical oxidants for water treatment mainly include:

  • Air
  • Chlorine
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Potassium manganate

Biological Processes:

This is used to remove iron, manganese, ammonium, and nitrate. This process is carried out under specific environmental conditions.


This process is carried out either to enhance the mineral concentration of water or to add specific minerals to water to alter its composition.

Microbiological Treatment:

This process is done to remove any microorganisms and improve the microbial quality of water through physical, chemical, or photochemical treatment.

Manufacture and Filling Equipment for Water:

After water treatment, water is filled into the bottles. Different filling techniques are used for filling water; for example, the filling technique for still water and carbonated water is different.

The design of the filling machine depends on the type of bottle; for example, glass bottles, PET, HDPE, and PEN bottles are filled using different filling machines.

The bottles are placed on a conveyor belt, which takes them to rinsing, filling, and capping machines, and then to the discharge unit. The whole process is documented and monitored so that the record of the entire procedure and the necessary parameters during production can be tracked. Furthermore, many production firms are adopting the integration of production planning systems to schedule production.

Quality Management:

The main objective for any industry is the provision of quality. Bottled water manufacturers perform various steps and tests to ensure water quality. These include:

  • pH testing
  • Conductivity test
  • Checking for chlorine traces
  • Evaluation by personnel
  • Evaluation of volume and filling levels
  • Keeping a reference sample
  • Microbiological tests

Production of Juices

Juice” by hepp is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

The soft drink manufacturers had to come up with a new product. Consequently, fruit juices were introduced as new beverages. There are two types of fruit used for processing purposes: pome fruits and citrus fruits. Pome fruits include apples, quinces, pears, and medlars, while citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. The fruits used for juice have distinct physical properties, so each type must go through different processes with multiple stages to be converted to juice.

Fruit Juice Processing:

Processing of Fruit Juice Using Traditional Methods

Pack Press:

The traditional method involves applying pressure to the pulp or the mashed fruit to extract its juice, which is then passed through a semipermeable surface, such as a cloth. The new version of this method is the pack press. It involves trays containing the mashed fruit stacked on each other, and then pressure is applied from the top and bottom to extract the juice. A modern pack press uses steel trays instead of old hardwood trays for stacking, and two stacks can be extracted at the same time.

The Horizontal Rotary Press:

This is a mechanized process for the extraction of juice. The mashed fruit is fed into a cylinder, and due to the back-and-forth movement of the piston, the fruit mash is forced into sleeve tubes while a second mash is also introduced in a cylinder, and piston movement repeats for the second mash. As a result, pomace residue and juice are produced.

Centrifuges Processing:

This technology was recently introduced and is more commonly used for extracting fruit juice that does not contain any desired particles like skin fragments, stalk fragments, and pits of the fruit. The mashed fruit is poured into the tubes which are then placed inside the centrifuge machine. Parameters including the centrifugal force magnitude and the rotation time of the apparatus can be adjusted. Hence, the juice is extracted, and undesired particles settle at the bottom which is then filtered out.

Processing of Fruit Juice Using Enzymes:

Enzymes are used in the juice extraction process to aid in the desired final output. Amylase, for example, is used to remove starch from the fruit juice during processing as it may cause precipitation and haze effects in the final product, and cellulase is used to remove the color during fruit processing.

Juice Concentration:

After the juice is extracted, the next step is to concentrate it. The juice is placed in evaporators and the temperature is set. This process eliminates any remaining microorganisms and denatures the enzymes to reduce their effect. This is repeated until the desired concentration is reached. Although some fruits, such as strawberries, are heat-sensitive, their juice must be concentrated through freeze-concentration and ultrafiltration processes.


For acquiring concentration, fruit juice undergoes heat treatment i.e., by evaporation. Fruit juice is placed inside the evaporator to be heated which evaporates the water until the desired concentration is achieved. In earlier times, the juice had to be heated repeatedly but that harmed the juice’s characteristics and quality. Nowadays, evaporators known as Thermally Accelerated Short-time Evaporators (TASTE) are used globally in industries for such processing.

Freeze Concentration:

The fruit juice can be concentrated through freeze-concentration. In this process, the fruit juice is frozen, forming a slushy solution containing viscous juice and water crystals. The water crystals are then removed, yielding only concentrated fruit juice. In some industries, this process is repeated until the Brix variation is decreased to the desired value and there is a negligible concentration of water crystals left. This process ensures that the volatile flavor components are preserved.


This process uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out the water from the juice. These membranes have specific characteristics, and there is a possibility that the juice’s flavor composition might be lost during this process. However, it can be recovered by distillation afterward and accumulated in the concentrated juice. Ultrafiltration achieves a low juice concentration compared to other methods, but it is a cost-effective solution.

Aseptic Filling:

After the processing is done, the next step is filling and packing. The two most common aseptic packings are the tetra pack and the capped plastic bag packing.

Tetra Packing:

In this packing method, the juice is filled inside a box made of cardboard, aluminum sheet, and plastic laminated sheet. The box is first sealed at the bottom and the liquid is filled. Afterward, the box is sealed at the top and the tetra pack or the combi box is ready for selling.

Plastic Packing:

The aseptic pack is also made of a plastic laminated sheet. This pack is sealed from the bottom and the top in such a way that the top of the pack can be ruptured, and the liquid juice can be filled afterward. When the liquid is filled, a cap is implanted on the top of the pack.

Other Considerations:

There are a few things to be considered and labeled along with the production of fruit juice. These include:

  • The low number of soluble solids or low Brix index
  • Titratable acidity measure
  • Acidity
  • Color measurements
  • Pulp content
  • Ascorbic acid content
  • Amount of preservatives

Production of Carbonated Soft Drinks

The concept of soft drinks was introduced in the 17th century. Later, the aeration of water was introduced. Carbon dioxide was added to the water and termed “aerated mineral water” until adding flavors to it and making it a soft drink was introduced. Carbonated water was first introduced in America and then production on a commercial level was started in Europe in the 20th century. The ingredients, packaging, and technology used for production today are far more cost-effective and productive than those used at that time. The process of production is given below:

soda-riffic” by dcJohn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Ingredients for a Soft Drink:

The main ingredients include:

  • Water
  • Saccharides and intense sweeteners
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Acidulants e.g., ascorbic acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid etc.
  • Colors
  • Flavors
  • Preservatives
  • Other ingredients may include stabilizers, saponin, antioxidants, and EDTA.

The ingredient proportion is selected based on the requirements of the soft drink. Sweeteners such as saccharine, aspartame, and cyclamate are used in low-calorie soft drinks instead of sugar. The acids aid in the preservation and acquisition of sharp taste. Flavors are used when a fruity taste or any specific flavor is to be acquired in the final product. The ingredients are collectively termed a “syrup mixture.”

The Syrup Room:

Modern-day syrup rooms are air-conditioned and are controlled by a PLC. The ingredient proportion recipe is fed into a computer which is integrated into a PLC.

Production of Carbon:

The main constituent of carbonated soft drinks is carbon dioxide. So, the production of carbon dioxide has prime importance. There are several ways through which carbon dioxide can be generated. The common methods of generating carbon dioxide used in industries are listed as under:


This process involves mixing oxygen and yeast with a sucrose solution in a fermenter. Carbon dioxide is produced as a result, along with alcohol. Fermentation on an industrial scale produces 99.9% pure carbon dioxide.

Flue Gas Recovery:

Flue gas is generated from boilers, which is then treated with several procedures to yield liquid carbon dioxide. The small amount of carbon dioxide is cooled down afterward according to the requirements of the carbonated drink.

Membrane Separation System:

The air passes through the membrane. In the end, carbon dioxide will be collected and separated from other gases, and others will be removed as waste. The carbon dioxide produced has a purity level of 95%.

Specifications of Carbon:

There are certain specifications and standards for the carbon dioxide gas being used in beverages and food products. These are defined collectively by the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) and the Compressed Gas Association of America (CGA). These are defined to minimize the risk of carbon dioxide and ensure the quality of beverages and food products.


Carbonation must be done to produce community soft drinks. There is a fixed proportion of carbon dioxide that must be ensured during the production of carbonated soft drinks. The bubble formation and the sharp taste are acquired only due to carbonation. So, the pressure and proportion of carbon in the soft drink must be checked.

De-aeration must be done to effectively perform carbonation. Any existing air inside the chamber can affect the amount of carbon present. Therefore, before the carbonation process, air must be removed so that the carbon dioxide meets the defined specifications. Carbonation can be achieved through:

  • Using carbonators
  • Gas bubble sparging

Filling Techniques:

After the carbonation has been done with the liquid, the next step is filling. In the case of glass, plastic, or PET bottles, the filling process is done by:

  • Gravity filling
  • Counter pressure filling
  • Can filling
    • In the case of can filling, filling involves the following steps:
      • Flushing phase I
      • Flushing phase II
      • Pressurizing
      • Filling
      • Snifting

The modern technology used for can filling is known as volumetric can filler or VOC. This technology uses electrical pneumatic control.

Production of Alcoholic Beverages:

Beverages that are either fermented or contain ethanol are referred to as alcohol. Alcohol beverages are categorized based on the raw material being used for fermentation. Each category has a different alcohol content. The main categories include:

  • Beer: Beer is made by fermentation of barley. Barley grains are mashed before being fermented. If the grain mash is distilled, it becomes spirit.
  • Fermented Tea: If tea leaves undergo microbial fermentation for months, or even a year, fermented tea is created. This tea contains 0.5% alcohol.
  • Mead: If honey is fermented with water, fruits, spices, or grains, mead is formed. Mead has an alcoholic content ranging from 3% to more than 20%.
  • Cider: Cider is produced by the fermentation of apple, pear, or peach juice. Cider has an alcohol content ranging from 1.25 to 8.5%.
  • Wine: Wine is mostly produced from the fermentation of grapes. Other fruits can also be used to produce wine. The alcohol content of wine is generally 13.5% but ranges from 8% to 17%.
  • Distilled Beverage: This is also known as distilled spirit. It is produced by the distillation of ethanol. It has an alcohol content of more than 20%. Examples of distilled beverages include vodka, brandy, tequila, and rum.

Alcoholic beverages are generally bitter. On an industrial scale, flavors are added before fermentation to make it taste sweet rather than bitter.

This entry was posted on December 19th, 2022 and is filed under Uncategorized. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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