As many of our readers will know from lived experience, this pandemic has caused a whole lot of beer wastage—millions upon millions of dollars worth of brewed beer down the drain. In the UK alone, an estimated 87 million pints of beer had been wasted, and that was a number from early on in 2021!
While we can all cry over spilt beer, some brewers have found unique ways to turn their wasted beer into green energy. Making eco-friendly lemonade from wasted beer is our version of good news.
Heineken has made the best of a difficult situation with a little scientific knowledge and a lot ingenuity:
- Place keg filler machines in reverse, effectively emptying the beer from kegs and storing it back in large, empty brewing vessels
- Drip-feed the beer from the (now filled) brewing vessels into the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)
- Use an anaerobic digester at the WWTP to convert the beer into biogas
- The biogas created during this process is stored in containers and can be converted into heat and electricity!
Just like that, the beer that was sitting unsold in the kegs is being made useful to the community in Manchester (where the Heineken factory is located).
This is really a story about being innovative and adapting to fluid situations. Of course, venues that can brew their own beer on-premise have an advantage when it comes to controlling inventory with less worries of wastage and expensive stockpiles.
We all hope we’re at the tail end of this nightmare pandemic but we recommend keeping agile and alert and thinking beyond the box to stay ahead and afloat.