Bigger, Faster, Smarter Facility

M.S. Walker Fine Wines and Spirits
Dedham, MA

M.S. Walker was faced with a dilemma: their property was subject to an eminent domain taking for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Green Line Extension Project, and they had to find a new home for their rectification and bottling facilities as soon as possible. A family-run business that has distributed and manufactured wines and spirits in Massachusetts since 1933, M.S. Walker set their sights on Dedham, MA. It was a suitable location—it had direct access to the railroad, which brought in their raw materials, it was connected to a source of high quality drinking water, and it was reasonable for their existing workforce. 

SMMA was retained by National Development, and partnered with Cranshaw Construction, W.A. Tompkins Co., and DTM Packaging, LLC to provide the design services for the newly constructed, single-story alcohol rectification and bottling facility. The completed building is an open-plan space with four main areas: a rectification area; a packaging and bottling section; a warehouse for storage; and an office and lab, which included office facilities, a QC lab, and a tasting room.

A Challenge in Coordination

Incorporating new equipment into the building while adhering to storage regulations for flammable liquids presented a challenge in coordination. The 9,000-gallon stainless steel storage tanks required the construction of the rectification room to be accelerated, synchronized with the storage tanks' arrival.

The tank vents were stubbed through the roof; then the HVAC ductwork, fire protection, compressed air, and plumbing was installed. The hangers for the stainless steel process piping were installed, and finally, the steel was fireproofed. The tanks were then maneuvered in sideways through the oversized door and tipped into place. The result was an instance of careful design and installation; a consideration for both safety and efficiency.

From Manual to Automated

M.S. Walker’s prior systems were labor intensive. When staff wanted to move liquids from one tank to another, they had to manually disconnect and reconnect hoses to their corresponding tanks. In order to add flavorings, they had to climb up to the top of the tank, open the tank door, and pour in a bucket of flavorings. Their liquor recipes were recorded by hand and by memory.

M.S. Walker's new, fully automated systems feature state of the art equipment that prioritizes safety and efficiency. Connections can now easily be made on a computerized flow control panel, and adding flavorings now takes place at a dedicated station with precise meters. Because of these upgrades, staff are now able to work resourcefully and faster.

Stretching Energy Savings

SMMA needed to demonstrate compliance with the State’s Stretch Energy Code, which required a minimum 20% energy savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Energy Standard for Buildings. However, the process energy loads—including rectification and bottling equipment—represented a much higher proportion of the total energy use, about 65% compared to 20 or 30% for a typical office or warehouse building. 

SMMA's final calculations exceeded Stretch Code with a 35% reduction in overall building energy use, and SMMA also provided M.S. Walker with tools to better understand the potential impact of electrical demand on their facility operations.

"Thank you SMMA for the outstanding support, diligent commitment and high level of detail. SMMA was thoughtful and respectful to our entire organization's needs, and clearly understood our complex and varied operational requirements."
–Scott Allen, General Manager, M.S. Walker

Cheers to Integration

Coordination is important on any project, but is especially critical on a technically-involved project such as M.S. Walker. SMMA’s integrated approach is ideally suited to excel in these projects, because having our multiple in-house disciplines involved from Day 1 under one roof on a common platform eliminates the time delay and information translation issues that are common in the traditional architect/consultant team structure.

Left: Process systems design-build by W.A. Tompkins Co.