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Milwaukee Brewing Company Raises a Glass to Solar Hot Water

What’s better than Milwaukee craft brewed beer? How about craft brewed beer engineered with clean solar hot water. Milwaukee Brewing Company announced today the installation of a solar hot water system at its brewing facility. The solar thermal project will reduce the brewery’s energy costs, and continue the company’s commitment to sustainable brewing practices.

Milwaukee Brewing Company goes solar

Milwaukee Brewing Company goes solar thermal

The Milwaukee Brewing Company’s installation will include 28 solar hot water collectors. Engineered with an indirect solar thermal system, solar can do much of the heavy lifting of getting liquids to the high temperatures required for pasteurization and boiling for brewing. With the liquid pre-heated with solar, conventional fuels take over and raise the beer’s temperature the rest of the way. (This same solar industrial heating process can be used for any food processing application, not just beer.)

Through the energy efficiency upgrades and the new solar hot water system, the brewery will see 27% energy savings in their industrial brewing process.

The solar thermal installation is the result of a partnership lead by Milwaukee Shines, the City of Milwaukee’s solar program. Milwaukee Shines brought several public and private partners together to help make the system a reality. The project was funded in part by grants from Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy, as well as grants from Me2, the City of Milwaukee’s energy efficiency program, and Milwaukee Shines.

The installation announcement was made in conjunction with Solar Thermal ’12, an annual national solar conference being held in Milwaukee. “This announcement is a perfect way to kick off the national Solar Thermal Conference, and this project demonstrates Milwaukee’s leadership in the solar industry first hand,” said Amy Heart, City of Milwaukee’s Solar Program Manager. 

Me2 and Milwaukee Shines provided the technical expertise, incentives, and financing that made this project possible. “These innovative City of Milwaukee energy programs are designed to help business owners and residents see an immediate reduction in their energy bills, while creating local jobs for our citizens and creating a better environment for our community,” said Heart. The Me2 and Milwaukee Shines programs have helped over 400 homeowners and over 100 businesses in Milwaukee reduce their energy bills.

Milwaukee Brewing Company has been implementing green practices since the construction of its production facility in 2007. One boiler is run off of bio-diesel, converting grease from local restaurants and Milwaukee County Parks to fuel. The other boiler uses natural gas. The brewery sends its spent grain to Growing Power as a nutrient rich addition to their composting efforts. To conserve water, the brewery casts back water, using the water that would have otherwise gone down the drain for cleaning. These green practices are fortified with conserving electricity, using local ingredients, and packaging popular beers in cans.

So, here’s to Milwaukee Brewing Company! The Free Hot Water team looks forward to tasting your solar beer here at our offices in San Jose, California one day! Save me some solar brewed Baltic Porter.



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