When the pandemic forced us into lockdown, many of our favorite watering pubs, bars, and restaurants had to throw out millions of dollars of stock. In the UK, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) estimates that about 87 million pints of beer have been tossed as a result.
Fortunately, the team at Heineken’s brewery in Manchester refused to waste their precious beer. Instead, they’ve figured out a way to convert excess beer into sustainable energy. The extra stock was supposed to be delivered to pubs around the country, but now the kegs are being emptied and drip-fed into an onsite wastewater treatment plant.
From there, it’s put into an anaerobic digester which transforms the beer into biogas. The biogas is captured and funneled into a heat and power unit stored inside a shipping container which is then turned into renewable and sustainable energy.
Since May of last year, the Heineken team has turned more than 7 million pints of beer into enough energy to power and heat around 28,000 average UK households for one day.
“After all the care, attention, and passion that went into brewing the beer in the first place, it would have been a great shame to pour it down the drain— no brewer wants to see their beer not be enjoyed,” says Matt Callan, Heineken’s Brewery and Operations director. He is proud that the team at Heineken, Manchester was able to use the beer that would have gone to waste for green energy to power the brewing of fresh beer, ready for drinking when the pubs reopen.
Update from 2022
Pubs in the UK have reopened, but it’s been a tough road. According to the British Beer and Pub Association, “1,565,300,000 pints of beer were sold in the UK from January to March 2022, a 40% increase on the year before thanks to the ending of all restrictions in pubs on 19 July 2021, but still down 4% on 2019 trading, the last year before the pandemic.” So no more green-beer energy for now…Cheers!