Bear Republic is in the upper echelon of craft breweries with sustainability commitments. To just run through a few things real quick: Flow meters and a plant-wide data collection make more efficient use of water (3.5 to 3.75 gallons of water to brew one gallon of beer). They have an anaerobic digester that cleans the brewery’s wastewater and generates biogas. Spent hops are strained and utilized as a soil amendment; spent brewer’s grain ends up as livestock feed.
And to top it all off, somewhat literally, the brewery has a 135-kW solar PV system sitting on the roof of its Factory 5 Brewery and another 38-kW system at its Lakeside Brewpub.
Solar systems are indeed pricey, but 1) there are lot of new financing options in the commercial space these days, and 2) depending on where you are located, they will start immediately showing cost savings. Bear Republic is saving $175,000 annually on their energy bills, and the system paid for itself in about five years.
Oh yeah, and like, the world is drowning, and solar power can help with that and stuff.
Like beer, not all solar systems are created equal, so it’s cool to understand what this Cloverdale, Calif. brewery specifically likes about theirs, and to hear their solar contractor explain how the customer relationship works. Perhaps something to think about at your facility.