Food Engineering
Sustainability

Alaska brewery is powered by beer

The energy savings will amount to more than just a drop in the bucket.

February 4, 2013

Alaska brewery is powered by beer

The Alaskan Brewing Company is hoping its suds are as useful in powering its plant as they are quenching a customer’s thirst. The Juneau, AK brewery bought and installed a $1.8 million furnace to burn the company’s spent grains from the brewing process into steam to power the facility’s operations. In the lower 48 states, the high-protein spent grain is usually sold to farms as feed. But Alaska’s lack of farms means that’s not an option for Alaskan Brewing Company Co-founder Geoff Larson. “We had to be a little more innovative just so that we could do what we love to do, but do it where we’re located,” he said. The brewers contacted a North Dakota company to build a special boiler system after the project received a $500,000 grant from the federal Rural Energy for America Program. The company estimates that the steam boiler will offset yearly energy costs by 70 percent, or $450,000 a year.