Beer is an entirely natural
product. Why shouldn’t
it be fully sustainable?
Photos and story
by AMIE MCCARTY
Upland Brewing Co. occupies a 100-year-old ice house. The roof now features 10 Apricus evacuated-tube panels with a capacity of 350,000 Btu daily. Chief Brewer Caleb Staton hoists a Helios Pale Ale,
Upland Brewing Co.’s first signature pale ale, named in honor of Helios, Greek god of the Sun.
Grape juice left in a sealed container turns to wine. Grain mashed in water turns to beer. Humans have njoyed fermented beverages since the dawn of agriculture, perhaps 12,000 years ago.
In the case of beer, heat helps the process
along. Brewers cook their wheat or barley mash,
filter it, cook it again and then ferment it with
yeast. Between processes, everything needs to
be washed with hot water — lots of it.
Bloomington, home of Indiana University,
got its first small brewery in 1991. Indiana
now has about 22 craft breweries, and most
of them hold sustainability as a core value.
When Upland Brewing Co. (uplandbeer.
com) launched in 1998, the company located
in a recycled 100-year-old ice house. By 2008,
Upland produced about 5,000 barrels of beer
in six flavors: Wheat, Rad Red Amber, Helios
Preservation Pilsner. That’s 155,000 gallons
(586,500 liters) of microbrew annually. The
brewery was heating nearly half a million gallons of water a year and paying thousands of
dollars to the gas company as natural gas prices
reached an all-time high.
That summer, Mann Plumbing (mann
plumbinginc.com) offered a solar water-heating system capable of producing 350,000 British thermal units (Btu) daily, enough to offset
to cut CO2 emissions by about 20 tons. Upland
from Indiana’s Alternative Power and Energy
program and was awarded $24,000 toward the
46 November/December 2009 SOLAR TODAY
Amie McCarty is director of solar system
sales at Mann Plumbing. Reach her at amie@
Copyright © 2009 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
$64,000 project. The project’s payback period
was estimated at less than nine years, depending on Upland’s hot water needs and the price
of;natural;gas.;Dayhoff,;a;savvy;and;forward-thinking businessman, understands that return
on investment for a commercial solar system
includes benefits that are difficult to quantify
but no less important to his bottom line. These
include positive publicity and leadership in
the community on issues of sustainability and
Installation began in early April 2009 and
took about two weeks to complete.
produce solar-heated water stored in three
( 71°C) and then heats the two secondary
tanks, piped together to function as one. This
control strategy allows the large panel array to
quickly charge the primary tank to supply the
brewery’s kitchen by late morning.
By mid-summer, the data logger showed
the system was producing to expectations. On
a good solar day, the secondary tanks reached
frequent draw-down of domestic hot water
for the kitchen and bathrooms. The brewery
uses some of the solar-heated water as a preheat for the mashing process, drawing off about
200,000 gallons annually to be boosted in gas-
water goes to the kitchen and for cleanup on
the brewery floor. ST
Breweries: An emerging
market for solar?
Sustainable breweries are not un- common. New Belgium Brewing Co.
( newbelgium.com) in Fort Collins, Colo.,
has been running largely on wind power
since 1999, and Sierra Nevada Brewing
Co. ( sierranevada.com) in Chico, Calif.,
uses a 1.4-megawatt photovoltaic array
to provide about one-third of its power.
The Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. (lucky
lab.com) in Portland, Ore., installed a
solar water-heating system in late 2007
and has since installed a second system
on a satellite location. Mann Plumbing now works with Solar Usage Now
( solarusagenow.com), an Apricus Solar
( apricus.com) distributor in Harlan, Ind.,
to reach out to breweries across the
country. They’ve launched the website
equibrew.com, featuring design and
estimating tools optimized for brewers,
vintners and distilleries.