Western Daily Press
Lockdown beer used – to make more beer
BEER that was about to go off when pubs shut during lockdown has been recycled by a West brewery – to generate the electricity to brew more beer.
The glasses of beer drinkers across the land were a lot more than half empty when millions of pints had to be poured away when pubs closed due to Covid.
But one historic West brewery has refilled them – using energy generated by that beer they’d otherwise have had to tip down the drain.
Dorset-based Hall & Woodhouse converted thousands of barrels of beer which had already been brewed but couldn’t be sold.
It calculates that its wastewater treatment plant has generated enough electricity thanks to the beer that was reaching its expiry date to power the equivalent of 17,000 average homes for a day.
Toby Heasman, Hall & Woodhouse head brewer, said: “Although lockdown meant that many of our pubs had to return unsold beer back to the brewery, the silver lining has been that none of this has gone to waste. Thanks to our wastewater treatment plant, all of the returned beer has been used to generate green electricity.”
Toby said: “Brewing is a highly energy-intensive process, so as far back as 2015, we started to look at ways we could incorporate more green energy into the way we work.
“The decision was made to make sustainable energy production an integral part of our new brewery, which came into operation in 2017. In addition to solar (PV) panels, we installed a wastewater treatment plant, which creates biogas. The biogas is fed through a unit which generates electricity to power our packaging lines and utilities.
“Heat produced by the combined heat and power engine is used to preheat the boiler feed water, which in turn produces steam to boil the beer.”
Hall & Woodhouse, which was founded in 1777 and has been based at its historic headquarters in Blandford Forum since 1900, sets a monthly target for the use of self-generated electricity.
Matt Kearsey, managing director, said: “As an independent familyowned brewer with a heritage stretching back nearly 250 years, innovating with new technologies and ways of working has been central to our continuing success. I’m pleased to say that we are continuing to look at new ways of maximising the creation of green energy to help conserve resources.”
It has opened about 100 of its pubs – a mixture of managed and tenanted – for outdoor dining.
And it plans to reopen the remainder from Monday, May 17, in line with the government’s roadmap.