The craft beer industry is going green—and the benefits are multiplying.
Running a brewery on clean energy can save the business money. It can certainly reduce the brewery’s impact on the environment. And clean energy brewing can be a great marketing tool in a time when consumers really value organizations that follow sustainability principles.
Why Clean Energy?
It takes significant energy to brew beer (and we don’t just mean the brewmaster’s!). Today’s breweries typically use 50-66 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per barrel of beer. With the average U.S. home using 10,399 kWh per year in 2017, that means that it takes less than 200 barrels of beer production to account for an entire household’s annual energy use.
Types of Clean Energy
Solar power is by far the most prevalent form of renewable energy found at breweries. This may seem striking, but it actually makes sense because solar systems are the easiest and most feasible system to install on a building basis.
It is perhaps no surprise that some very big-name breweries are among those utilizing solar energy: Sierra Nevada, Stone, Lagunitas, and New Belgium, for instance. But they are not the only breweries working on solar energy.
But some of these breweries focus on sustainability in a very big, very public way. New Belgium has a section of its website that focuses on their energy conservation approach and aspirations. There they explain the “internal energy tax” they charge themselves for every kilowatt hour of electricity they purchase. “100% of that money funds energy efficiency and renewable energy projects around the brewery that help us reach our goals,” they explain. (They also note that in 1999, they became the first US brewery to purchase 100% of its electricity from wind power.)
Heating, cooling, and water use are all areas where breweries can re-use resources. For instance, Alaskan Brewing Company has a carbon reclamation system. It captures carbon dioxide released during brewing and re-uses it in the packaging process. They also use their spent grain as a fuel source!
Breweries could also utilize a brewhouse designed for operation with superheated water, rather than steam.
Kona Brewing Company has incorporated a wastewater processing plant into their facility. The plant will clean water used in-house, and repurpose it for uses like washing down kegs and equipment. The process also produces methane gas, which Kona plans to use to create electricity to power the water-repurposing system.
How can your brewery incorporate clean energy into its operations?
For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.