Liquid courage: making beer more sustainable


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Brewing is a traditional industry with an important economic contribution to the agricultural and food and beverage sectors. In fact, beer is the drop of choice for 9.1 million Aussies and domestic production of the tasty brew supports almost 103,000 full-time Australian jobs, generating $16.5bn a year in economic activity.

However, there are several environmental factors associated with brewery operations including water consumption, energy use and emissions, hygiene and by-products. As a company committed to making positive impact within the communities it serves, 4 Pines Brewing Company is dedicated to the planet and addressing climate change and water use.

The brewery estimates it sells the equivalent of 20 million pints of beer annually. Without compromising on hygiene, 4 Pines sought to:

  • reduce its resource dependency, particularly water, in the brewing cellar;
  • lessen chemical exposure for its team and improve overall chemical handling;
  • drive operational efficiency, with no impact to product quality.

     

Working together with Ecolab, 4 Pines has implemented a number of custom-built solutions to help reduce water and energy consumption, while positively impacting overall operations by ensuring safety and hygiene are not compromised.

This includes a cleaning in place (CIP) solution that has the capabilities to recover, treat and re-use caustic and final rinse water to save both chemistry and water. To further conserve water (and chemicals), 4 Pines is also running inline treatments periodically to eliminate the need to drain and refill its caustic tanks. What’s more, the CIP system is automated and incorporates wireless technology to control both the tank supply valve pulsing as well as the mobile CIP return pump, ensuring optimal water use at all times.

In a bid to reduce turnaround times on the fermenters for 4 Pines, Ecolab has also developed and installed a carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction system to purge the gas from its tanks to improve operational efficiency and energy use. This process reduces the levels of caustic depletion during CIP, further saving chemical losses and downtime from rework. As a result, 4 Pines can improve tank availability and production output significantly.

Ale in a day’s work

Chris Willcock, Chief Brewer at 4 Pines, said, “Ecolab’s custom-built solutions helps us reduce our water and energy consumption, whilst ensuring our beer is produced and bottled as safely and hygienically as possible.”

Working with Ecolab, over the last nine months, 4 Pines has experienced:

  • A reduction of water use in the production of beer. An overall reduction from 3.8 L to 3.4 L per litre of beer produced which equates to water savings of up to 60,000 litres a week.
  • In one particularly busy week, the team brought its water use down to 2.6 L of water per litre of beer.
  • Increased health and safety. A safer system for cleaning and sanitising its fermenters and beer tanks, which reduces the exposure of its team to chemicals.
  • Improved cleaning reliability and control. Trending data and automated systems mean that 4 Pines is confident that its process hygiene is as good as it’s ever been.

     

4 Pines Brewing Company was established as a microbrewery in 2008 in Manly, New South Wales. It has a unique partnership with space engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia (with whom it has developed a space-certified beer). The company is also focused on environmental and social sustainability and now resides within the Carlton & United family of breweries.

Originally published
here.



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