Using the Sun To Brew Beer

By Michael C. Upton | July 26, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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In 1516, The Reinheitsgebot (a.k.a the German beer purity law) regulated German beer to include simply water, barley and hops.  As brewing changed over the ages, the old  Reinheitsgebot was laid to waste and regulations began allowing other items to define beer, including yeast, wheat malt and cane sugar.  Today, breweries like Arbor Brewing Company have found another ingredient to add to their beer—the sun!

Utilizing the power of solar energy, Arbor has become the first brewery in Michigan to run on solar energy.  Started in 1995 in Ann Arbor, the original ABC brewpub is running smoothly on solar power.  The brewpub is the smallest portion of the $350,000 project, which also calls for solar updates to ABC's packaging facility and brewery in Ypsilanti (just outside of Ann Arbor).  Co-owner Matt Greff expects the project to be fully completed in the near future.

“It's always nice when your personal philosophy matches your business goals,” said Greff.

Working with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and in association with the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, the brewery secured matching grants to help fund a project Greff always thought about doing.

“We started to look at the numbers and said, 'wow, this totally makes sense,'” Greff said.

According to Bill Borton of Sky Solar Solutions, now is the time to start looking at, and planning for solar energy in both business and residential properties.

“With the ability to combat rising electric bills, produce a positive impact on the environment, and generate an additional source of income, installing a solar energy system now is a better time than ever,” said Borton.

It looks like  Arbor is on to something.  Other breweries on the environmental forefront of brewing include the Matt Brewing Company, makers of Saranac in New York (water conservation), the New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado (solar and natural gas), and Labatt.  Even the big boys like MillerCoors are getting into the game.  Maybe the beer purity laws will one day include the use of solar energy, time will tell.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up. 
-Beer Universe

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