Breweries Become Bastions of Clean Energy

by | May 29, 2019

Beer breweries all across the US have become stalwarts of renewable energy, using everything from solar energy to waste-to-energy methods to make the brewing, canning and distribution process more energy efficient. The following are a few breweries making major investments in renewable energy.

Sierra Nevada

At both of the company’s breweries, they incorporate energy efficiency practices in a variety of systems. Heat recovery units on boilers, microturbines, and brew kettles capture energy that otherwise would be lost, and devices on large motors and pumps conserve energy by automatically adjusting to demand. Lighting also plays a key role in cutting down on wasted electricity. Ambient light sensors adjust electric lighting based on the amount of natural light coming through large windows and skylights throughout the brewery. Sierra Nevada further conserves energy by using motion sensors and timers to ensure lights are off when we’re not using them.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

In 2017, this beer maker added a 62-panel solar array to its brewery roof. The company has thus far produced 82,653 cases of beer using 100% solar power.

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery

This Athens, Ohio-based brewery added solar panels when it expanded its brewery in 2016. They provide roughly 40% to 50% of the electricity needed at the brewery.

Flight Deck Brewing

This Brunswick, Maine-based brewery produces their beer with 100% renewable energy — one of the few US brewers to do so. They claim to do this by using a state-of-the-art electric brewing system (a relatively new technology in commercial brewing), and by sourcing electricity from a combination of anaerobic biodigestion (organic waste turned into electricity) and solar sources.

New Belgium Brewing

The majority of this Colorado-based beer maker’s energy comes from on-site power generation methods. Those include: biogas and solar. As their website states: At our onsite Process Water Treatment Plant in FTC, microbes clean all of our production waste-water through a series of aerobic and anaerobic basins. A byproduct of this process — methane-rich biogas — is harvested and piped back to the brewery, where it powers two combined heat and power (CHP or co-gen) engines. We’re literally turning waste into energy. Our AVL Process Water Treatment Plant is under construction and will also generate biogas. We have 1,235 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels covering the roof of our Packaging Hall in FTC. This equates to just about 300 kilowatts of electricity, or roughly 4.5% of our FTC annual electricity needs. Our AVL Liquid Center has a 19 kilowatt PV array adorning its roof, which helped the building to earn LEED Platinum Certification. A solar hot water system on the roof of our AVL Brewery uses energy from the sun to create hot water which we utilize in domestic applications, like our kitchen and restrooms.


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