The pandemic has raised some roadblocks for eco-friendly business practices. Consider the glut of off-premise packaging flooding the market. Consider with budgets low, green initiatives are often being put on hold. Consider brewing in itself is a resource heavy manufacturing process (grains, hops, water, packaging, then resulting waste). So, progressive beer makers are always looking for ways to balance purpose and profit, and we try to highlight them here.
Here are some varying examples: New Belgium’s Torched Earth Ale which costs $40, tastes like sadness and is a beer aimed at bringing attention to climate change. New Belgium’s Fat Tire brand also recently became America’s first carbon neutral beer. California’s North Coast Brewing Co. just reported it has successfully completed the rigorous B-Corp recertification process, celebrating the brewery’s social and environmental performance. Denver Beer Co. recently announced the purchase of three electric vehicles to be utilized by its sales team.
In fact, Denver Beer has become a leader in green beer practices. Its Canworks production facility is run on 100 percent solar power, meaning each can, bottle and keg is produced with 100 percent clean energy. It also employees Earthly Labs’ innovative carbon dioxide capture technology which captures and stores excess carbon dioxide produced during the beer fermentation process for reuse. This innovative CO2 system (the focus of this post, sorry for burying the lede) has been popping up all over the craft brewing industry.
Next up: Arizona’s SanTan Brewing Co. just announced it had invested in an Earthly Labs system that recaptures the carbon dioxide that is naturally produced by the fermentation of its beers. The CO2 is then stored as a liquid and repurposed to carbonate SanTan beers. Additionally, SanTan has installed a nitrogen generator that will purify the ambient air and eliminate the use of CO2 for purging aluminum cans, kegs and tanks at its production facility. The combined use of these two new pieces of equipment will reduce SanTan Brewing’s CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent per year, resulting in an elimination of 500 metric tons of CO2. That’s an impressive accomplishment. From the press release:
“I’m really proud to be able to take this step towards creating a more hopeful future by doing our part to reduce carbon emissions and create a cleaner environment. Earthly Labs is changing the game for our industry by giving us control over key ingredients that are good for the planet,” said Anthony Canecchia, founder and brewmaster, SanTan Brewing Co.
On top of the environmental benefits, there are supply and cost advantages. Since the global pandemic, Earthly Labs noted it has seen CO2 supply chain shortages, price spikes and surge or force majeure pricing. This technology allows breweries to supplement CO2 supply by capturing and using their own natural CO2, which has fewer hydrocarbons and other impurities.
With an annual production rate of 50,000 bbls, SanTan noted it is now Arizona’s first brewery and distillery to implement carbon capture technology. The Early Labs CiCi unit is now installed and in active use, which can be observed by the public while touring SanTan’s facility.
“Pioneering climate technology only works if leaders invest in it. We are thrilled to partner with SanTan Brewing, a clear industry leader, to recycle their waste CO2 into a quality ingredient,” said Amy George, CEO, Earthly Labs.