Australia and a good beer are an unbeatable combo, and craft breweries throughout the country are booming. But a lot of work is required to keep operational costs down and production quality up - the right energy mix is critical.A brewery, craft or otherwise, is the type of business that requires a lot of energy, both from the passionate beer lovers who run them and from operational demands. There are a multitude of challenges that have to be met in order to produce a perfect product that tastes the same every time. Scale of course is a factor, making small batch beer in a back garden shed is very different from mass producing a factory product that will be served in pubs, clubs and hotels around the country and beyond. But regardless of size, all breweries have to manage their energy use effectively or it can have huge financial and production consequences.
According to Dept. of Environment, Water, Land and Planning, some of the most critical energy considerations for breweries are refrigeration and tank storage, which can consume half the total energy usage, and then packaging, compressed air, pumps, hot water and steam, fans, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) lighting, and other equipment.
Another important consideration is how energy efficient the manufacturing and production equipment is. There’s a lot of fermenting, filling, milling and mashing required. Many breweries are now embracing renewable energy solutions for more sustainable and financially viable options.
Australian brewery Little Creatures (of Fremantle and Geelong) have added a 1,200 KWh cogeneration systems to their new brewery in a state of the art manufacturing site in Geelong. These systems will provide a large portion of the brewery’s electricity and hot water demands and will reduce energy consumption and emissions. Breweries like Byron Bay’s Stone & Wood and Manly Beach’s Four Pines have a committed focus on sustainability which has earned them B Corp Accreditation (they are currently the only two breweries in Australia to have that status). According to The Crafty Pint, B Corp status is an accreditation given by the not-for-profit B Lab when businesses meet certain standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Even the giant players are getting in on the renewable energy action. In 2018, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), took a significant step towards sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by signing a 12-year PowerPurchase Agreement (PPA) with German renewable energy developer, service provider and wholesaler, BayWa r.e. They will provide 74,000 MWh per year (enough to power 7,500 homes) of renewable energy sourced from its solar farm in Mildura, Victoria.
It’s an exciting time for the beer trade and small businesses. Craft breweries, much like our local wineries, represent the best of Australia – hardworking people of all ages and walks of life, forging their passions into reality while adopting sustainable practices that help their businesses flourish and enrich the communities they serve.