Australian breweries are not taking their energy consumption lightly, with more looking into renewable energy to improve operating costs.
Written by Justine Summers
By its very nature, the brewing industry is quite energy-intensive. That delicious pint of beer you downed at a pub last night would have gone through the intricate process of malting, mashing, boiling, cooling, fermentation and maturing before being bottled or barrelled into a sellable product. All these brewing steps require varying degrees of temperatures and methods of storage and consequently, end up utilising a lot of energy.
But Australian breweries are not taking their energy consumption lightly. More brewers are looking into renewable energy to improve operating costs. According to a report commissioned by the Independent Brewers Association (IBA), independent brewing grew by over tenfold in the decade to 2016. In 2006, Australia’s craft brewing sector was made up of only 30 businesses but by 2015-16, that number had grown to 379, with nearly two-thirds located in regional Australia.
Here we take a look at some of the early adopters of solar in the craft brewing industry:
The Grove Distillery, Busselton, Western Australia
The Grove Distillery, Café and Brewery has gone completely off-the-grid, making them the first fully solar-powered distillery in the country. In mid-2017, the company installed 220 solar panels which connect to a shed housing four and a half tonne of batteries. But the distillery and brewery’s commitment to sustainability began way before in 1995 – when they planted over 6,000 trees to offset their carbon footprint as a result of production.
Young Henry’s, Sydney, NSW
This craft brewery in Newtown installed a 30kW solar system on its rooftop, with 120 solar panels that supply around 25 per cent of the brewer’s total electricity consumption. What makes Young Henry’s story even more inspirational is that the solar installation was backed by a community fundraiser that saw the brewer raise $17,500 in just nine minutes!
Helios Brewing, Brisbane
Founded by environmental engineers, it’s easy to see why this brewery’s name and design celebrate the power of the sun. As the legend goes, Helios was the Greek God of Sun, responsible for driving a chariot through the skies to light up the world. The brewery has been designed to ensure no leaf is left unturned when it comes to energy efficiency. It features 56 x 335 PV solar panels and a 15kW inverter, which does not just power the brewery but also exports 40 per cent of the power generated to the local grid on non-brewing days.
The brewery also has a solar thermal set up where cold water is heated within 90 evacuated tubes and then stored in 3 x 315 litre tanks before being fed to the brewery. This saves on electricity that would have been used for heating.
Grand Ridge Brewery, Gippsland, Victoria
One of Australia’s oldest craft breweries, Grand Ridge adopted solar long before it had become trendy and not to forget, cheaper – in 2014. With its 384 solar panels, the brewery has successfully transitioned the majority of its energy consumption to solar. The Gippsland brewer has always been conscious of the environment, brewing 100% pure beers with no added chemicals, preservatives or sugars and ensuring all their packaging is fully recyclable.
If you are looking to transition to solar energy for your distillery, brewery or winery, we can help. Find out more online today or speak to one of our friendly team members from 8 am–5 pm, Monday – Friday, on 1300 134 138.
About the author
Justine works in our Origin Business Solar department, and has a background in Marketing and PR. Justine is an fan of sustainable, minimalist lifestyles & is a self-proclaimed vegetarian recipe master – trying her hardest to convince the masses that meat free meals are still delicious.