Natasha Bedingfield once sang about having a pocket full of sunshine but these days it’s all about having a pint of sunshine instead. With a range of Australian breweries making the switch to solar power, pouring a cold one on a hot day – or a cold day with a roaring fire – will taste that little bit sweeter…and cleaner. The Clean Energy Council has prepared a mixed six of solar-powered breweries from across Australia, providing a huge range of choices to help you find your perfect sundowner.
Stomping Ground, Melbourne
The good old Stomping Ground has done a little something extra to make it even more of a local favourite lately. A commitment to its role as a global citizen is highlighted through the installation of more than 350 solar panels installed on the brewery and beer hall roof. The system was switched on in February this year and produces about 60 per cent of the power needs of the brewery through self-generated renewable energy. We’ll say cheers to that one – and given the range of special brews it produces, there is always something interesting on tap to try out!
Bright Brewery, North-east Victoria
This craft brewery at the gateway to Victoria’s ski country uses fresh mountain water and sunshine to brew its beers, launching a 50 kW solar system that will supply all of the beer maker’s electricity needs. The brewery is already well down the path to becoming carbon neutral, and its next target for improvement is the brewery boiler which currently uses natural gas. Bright Brewery has called on the Independent Brewers Association to put sustainability on the industry’s national agenda. In the meantime, all its beers are solar crafted as it tries to minimise its impact on the pristine alpine environment.
Young Henrys, Sydney
Thanks to a community solar investor fund in Sydney’s inner west which raised $17,500 in nine minutes, a new chapter began in the Young Henrys story which saw the installation of a 29.9 kW solar array on the roof of the brewery. The solar panels power the brewing operation, allowing the owners to offset grid consumption and produce solar-powered beer. Renewable energy is undeniably a big part of Young Henrys, but so is music – it brewed Foo Town Lager in partnership with rock and roll legends The Foo Fighters to celebrate the band’s ninth studio album and Australian tour. Don’t waste your time looking for a spare case now though – it sold out yonks ago.
Grand Ridge Brewery, Gippsland, Victoria
Grand Ridge Brewery was doing quality independent craft beer back in 1989 – long before it was cool. But one of Australia’s oldest craft breweries has added a little extra something to its charm lately, and that something is solar. With the help of Gippsland Solar, the brewery successfully transitioned the majority of the brewery’s power sources to solar power through the installation of 384 solar panels. Sustainability is at the forefront here, and the tables inside have been carved from fallen trees found along the riverbank. This is more than a rural gem, it’s an environmentally-friendly haven with more than a dozen beers on offer.
Helios Brewing, Brisbane
This brewing house is environmentally sustainable right down to its name. Helios was the legendary Greek sun God tasked by Zeus with driving a chariot carrying the sun through the sky each day for all mankind. The brewery’s owners are all environmental professionals and one of them, Scott Shomer, was trained by Al Gore a decade ago to spread the word about the need for change. And now, through the power of the sun, the brewery ensures each pot, pint and bottle of beer is both water and power efficient. They also send the spent grain from the beer making process to a pig farm instead of landfill, because the local hogs apparently love it.
The Grove Distillery, Busselton, Western Australia
True to our national colours, this “green and gold” distillery has begun operating entirely off solar power in Busselton. Green because of the 220 solar panels at The Grove Distillery which connect to a shed housing four and a half tonnes of batteries, allowing it to go off grid. And gold because of the awards that it has won at international competitions. The business made the choice in order to reduce its carbon footprint and stay true to the land in which their business operates, while also branding themselves as trendsetters in the industry for being completely powered by renewable energy. As well as craft ales, The Grove Distillery produces a range of award-winning spirits and liqueurs.