Solar power used to help make beer in Oregon
When I read this article, I knew that it was something right up our alley. If we ever are involved in creating a brewpub/brewery, solar power can help.
Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!
By Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Any aficionado will tell you that sometimes a good beer is like a glass of sunshine. At the Lucky Lab Brew Pub on Hawthorne, it's reality.
The brewery recently became the first in Oregon to use a solar thermal system to brew their beer.
Solar collector panels line the pub's roof, gathering the sun's energy. The harnessed energy is then used to heat the 900-gallon tank of water that stands nearby.
Lucky Lab uses the warmed water to make beer, which must be a toasty 160 degrees. It also is used for other hot water needs at the pub, like the dishwasher or bathroom.
When the sun doesn't provide enough rays to meet their needs, a traditional water heater serves as backup.
Lucky Lab Brewing Co. co-owner Gary Geist says they anticipate relying almost solely on the new system in the summer but have been able to make good use of it since it went in place in December. Even in the gray Oregon winter, the tank has gotten as warm as 145 degrees with the new system.
Making beer requires a lot of water; each sip of the good stuff is water in some form. So a significant up-front cost, about $70,000, was still worth it after Geist and co-owner Alex Stiles determined the long-term savings.
"It's a no-brainer," Geist said.
The company says the system should pay for itself within the next few years and they anticipate energy savings for the next 25 years.
"It's perfect for a brewery," Geist said. "We use a lot of water to make beer."
A handful of breweries across the country have used alternative energy for their electricity needs. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in California is creating the country's largest private solar installations for its electricity. But heating the water directly is a more unusual system.
"What feels good tastes even better and many beer drinkers are responding, applauding and supporting green craft brewers," said Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the national nonprofit industry group, the Brewers Association.
Lucky Lab said the move just made sense for economics, ethical and community reasons.
"It's a pretty incredible system," Geist said.
Lucky Lab will be brewing a special "Sun Beer" to celebrate the change and plans to put similar systems in place at other Lucky Lab locales.
Link to article.