PORTSMOUTH Brewing delicious beer while running a beer garden and kitchen uses a lot of power and water, even for little brewers like Alex McDonald, owner of Earth Eagle Brewings.
"Electricity is our biggest electricity bill," said McDonald, who has joined a nationwide project to study energy used to brew beer, with the aim of reducing water, electricity and waste.
In his sixth year running the 165 High St. Brewery and Pub, McDonald said his entire brewing system runs on electricity, including cold storage, and the hot water for cleaning and dishwashing. He said he once had a power audit, but the cost-cutting suggestions were unaffordable for small beer brewers like himself.
"It's an incentive for big breweries who could pay $ 25,000 in advance" for energy-efficient appliances,
So when asked if he wanted to participate in the study on energy production of beer, with the aim Finding ways to brew greener and cheaper, McDonald said yes.
"We are keen to be eco-conscious," he said.
The project is being undertaken by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, which is attended by the University of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Brewers Association. It starts with data collection and the ultimate goal is to reduce the ecological footprint of the breweries.
McDonald said he provides information about the amount of beer he produces along with his water and utility bills. The information from Earth Eagle and other New Hampshire breweries will be collected and compared over time. McDonald said that after a sufficient amount of data has been collected, the brewers can see how much water and electricity the participating brewers need to make certain amounts of beer. He hopes that the information will lead to a better understanding of why, for example, a brewer makes more beer with less water.
Cynthia Nelson, with the DES Pollution Prevention Program, said the program offers companies free support for the goal of source reduction. Because the craft brewing industry is growing across the country, she said that DES has received a federal grant to help breweries save energy and costs.
"Breweries want to be green, but they are busy and their job is brewing big beer," she said. "Most do not have time to figure out how much energy and water they use."
The project is still in its infancy and begins with the collection of data on energy production from beer and water. Nelson said breweries will share data to compare and see their plants with other similar size when using less water or more electricity. She said similar data is available to breweries across the country and details allow beer makers to "compare apples to apples."
"We're just starting on it," Nelson said. "We hope we will have some exciting results."
Nelson said her project brought in the UNH brewing program because "if we teach them to brew more sustainably, we've got them through their careers." 1
Formerly of the Backstage Brewery, Parker said, as an example, many brewers learn the fact that they can not dispose of grain and yeast into the drain because of their high nutrient content, depending on where they are located.
"Some cities can not handle this high nutrient load," said Nelson, whose background is chemistry and sustainability
They learn that they have the extra cost and energy to compost and / or bring to farms ,
Nelson said the project also has the potential to reward New Hampshire breweries with sustainability rights. Craft beer drinkers, she said, take care of the sustainability quotient of the beer they drink.
"I absolutely know that customers are interested," she said. "They'll think it's very cool and we'll have the data to back it up."