Alcoholic beverages are widely consumed around the world. Lean and Six Sigma methodologies are used to improve their production processes. We’ll look at applications from the USA, Nigeria, and South Africa and finish with a video of how bourbon is made.

NOTE: The following link lists the 30 largest alcoholic beverage companies worldwide with a combined market cap of $1.193 trillion.


Results of the Lean Manufacturing Initiative in a Jim Beam Brands Plant: USA-Cincinnati


In a short article titled “Cincinnati Jim Beam plant toasts Lean Manufacturing” reporter Jon Newberry highlights the results of applying Lean manufacturing at Jim Beam’s Cincinnati plant.

While Jim Beam bourbon whiskey isn’t produced in the Cincinnati plant, three-quarters of the production there is DeKuyper liqueurs in 57 varieties.

Results of the Lean initiative include:

  • Elimination of 28 percent of process steps from raw materials receipt to shipping
  • Reduction of production lead times an average of 36-man hours per day
  • $4.5 Million in potential production cost savings

You can read the short article here.


Using Lean and Six Sigma in Nigeria’s Largest Beverage Company


In a paper titled “The Application of Lean-Six-Sigma Methodology in the Manufacturing Sector: A Case Study of Nigerian Breweries” authors Augustine Uzorh, Innocent Nnanna, and F. Olanrewaju discuss the use of Lean and Six Sigma at Nigerian Breweries, the largest beverage company in Nigeria.

Specific objectives included

  • Investigating the bottling process to address problems and fix them.
  • Developing data collection methodology directed toward the number of rejected bottles and defects.
  • Optimization of bottling processes to improve defects and reduce waste.

The paper includes:

  • Data Provided by Brewery
  • Extraction Forces for Production Lines: A, B, and C
  • Number and Frequency of Volume of Filling Defects Per Line
  • Quantity of the Product Produced Per Month vs Product Supplied
  • Percentage of Bottles Rejected in Lines A and B
  • Analysis of Extraction Force by Type of Cork
  • Histogram and Time Series Plot of Extraction Force by Line
  • Histogram of Volume Filling by Line
  • Expected Demand of Beverage
  • Process Capability Analysis of Extraction Force by Line
  • Process Capability Analysis of Volume by Line
  • Pareto Charts of Defects by Line
  • Scatterplot Extraction Force vs Oxygen or Vacuum by Lines
  • Cause and Effect Diagram of Defects and Rejected Bottles

Copy and paste the following link into your browser to access the paper.


Using Lean Six Sigma to Improve Changeover Times in Beverage Packaging: South Africa


In a bachelor’s thesis titled “A Lean Six Sigma approach for improving the changeover time on a packaging line at South African Breweries Limited” author Michiel Christiaan Heystek discusses the use of Lean Six Sigma to improve packaging changeover times.

The thesis includes:

  • Problem Statement Worksheet
  • High Level Process Map
  • Range and Xbar Charts for Brand and Size Changes
  • Inherent Best Times of Different Changeovers
  • Low Level Process Map Extracts
  • Cause and Effect Matrix Extracts
  • Filler As-Is and To-Be SMED Analyses
  • Labeler As-Is and To-Be SMED Analyses
  • FMEA
  • Potential Time Reduction on Changeovers

You can read the thesis here.


Video Of Bourbon Making Process


See how bourbon is made in this video from the Science Channel.

You can watch the video here:


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