Here at Craft Brewing Business, we don’t really cover the hard cider industry (our name kind of says it all). But a news release from the Vermont Hard Cider Co., known for making Woodchuck Hard Cider, did catch our eye — and it might catch the eye of craft brewers out there interested in sustainable business/operations solutions.
The company announced its investment in a solar energy project that is expected to produce 210,000 kWh of electricity per year and approximately 10 to 15 percent of the company’s current electricity demand.
“Sustainability efforts like this are at the core of our mission,” said Bret Williams, president and chief executive officer of Vermont Hard Cider. “To be able to tap into local renewable energy is good for our business, the local economy, and the planet.”
The project is a “solar orchard” in nearby Bridport, Vt. The 1.5 acre solar orchard consists of 26 pole-mounted dual-axis AllSun Trackers, which use GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day. The solar trackers are manufactured locally by AllEarth Renewables of Williston, Vt. According to AllEarth Renewables, the tracker system boosts the panel’s energy production by up to 45 percent over roof-top installations.
“We’re excited to be working with Vermont Hard Cider on this project, a company that understands they can make both a financially sound decision and a sustainable decision as they produce their great product,” said David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables.
AllEarth Renewables was named a 2012 Inc. 500 company for fastest growing businesses nation-wide and has designed, manufactured and installed more than 1,400 grid-connected solar tracker systems. AllEarth Renewables is dedicated to the design and manufacture of innovative technologies that provide renewable energy solutions for homeowners and businesses. The AllSun Tracker was selected as a top-10 green product for 2012 by BuildingGreen Magazine.
But oh, there is more: Woodchuck also purchases 25 percent of its power through Green Mountain Power’s “Cow Power” program, which converts cow manure to electricity. Combined with the new solar project, around 40 percent of Woodchuck’s power use is now renewable.
So how about it, craft brewers? We’ve posted several stories from enterprising sustainable breweries out there – do you have an eco-business story to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]. Would love to hear about it.