Alaskan Brewing Company have recently created an in-house recycling process that will allow them to pride themselves on sustainability. The innovative idea enables the company to power their facilities using a free resource, the old grain left over from the brewing process. With the assistance of a half a million dollar grant from the Federal Rural Energy for America Program, the ABC together with an industrial furnace company created a special boiler system that runs on grain for fuel. It is now the sole fuel source for en energy recovery system.
Once used in the brewing process, malt and barley becomes a wet biomass byproduct with not much use except for being transformed into cow food. And that is what the ABC traditionally did. They would pack and send the grain to be used as cattle feed and quickly became an expensive part of the operations cycle. As farms are limited to non in Alaska it was sent to the continental US. This became a costly exercise as transportation in and out of the brewery’s location, Juneau is limited. For the $60/ton the Brewery received for their spent grain, it would cost $30/ton to ship. This combined with the costs associated in drying the product and operational costs, it proved to be an un-sustainable process.
The Alaskan Brewing Company are also proud to be crowned the wold’s first beer-powered craft brewery. The equipment that cost 1.8 million burns the dried spent grain to create steam. The steam, a renewable energy source powers the facility. It is predicted to save the company US$450,00 annually, offset energy costs by 70% and pay for itself in under five years.
According to co-founder Geoff Larson,
“In order to grow as a small business here in Alaska and continue having a positive effect on our community, we have to take special efforts to look beyond the traditional to more innovative ways of brewing. Reducing our energy use makes good business sense, and good sense for this beautiful place where we live and play.”