Craft Brewing – The Energy Management Mystery Solved


Craft brewers are the most creative segment of the brewing industry.  So, it should come as no surprise that many craft brewers have an interest in innovative solutions for energy efficiency and supply opportunities at their facilities.   For brewers to maximize the amount of money they can spend on their creative process, they should make reducing their energy spend a top priority.  They can accomplish this by understanding fluctuating energy costs, possible reduction measures to lower energy usage, and by developing a purchasing strategy that matches their operational needs.

Many owners and operators consider energy costs as an expense they cannot control, as something that simply rises and falls that they are on the hook to pay.  However, having this outlook will lose companies at least a little, if not substantial amounts of money.  


There are many energy supply and efficiency options that are readily available to incorporate into daily brewing operations that would result in cost reductions, allowing for precious company capital to be spent elsewhere. While saving breweries money these solutions also make them industry leaders in sustainable practices.

Obviously, energy consumption varies from many factors that include the size, location, and product offerings of each brewery.  Although each brewer is unique, there is one thing among them that is the same, all breweries of all sizes can benefit from energy savings.  With the help of a Patriot advisor, clients can understand the wide array of supply options and energy conservation measure available from large to small.  For example, refrigeration usually creates the largest electrical load, while the brewing itself consumes the largest amount of natural gas while being used for heat.  Below is a non-exhaustive list of efficiency measures that Patriot Energy can offer our clients through its network of experienced providers.

Some Possible Energy Efficiency Measures

Low Cost Measures

Low capital cost, quick payback, and are easy to implement.

  • Repairing steam and air leaks
  • Shutting down equipment when not used
  • Shutting off lighting in areas where lighting is not required
  • Changing air filters
  • Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED lamps
  • Repairing frail or missing insulation
  • Cleaning exhaust fans and repairing or replacing loose or broken belts on fans
  • Cleaning condenser coils
  • Insulating refrigerant suction lines
  • Checking walk-in coolers to ensure defrost timers are set properly
  • Maintaining good air flow around evaporators by removing debris and other objects that may block air flow
  • Repairing or replacing leaky or damaged HVAC duct work

Moderate Cost Measures

  • Variable speed drives (process, HVAC, and support applications)
  • High-efficiency lighting systems
  • Motion sensors
  • New insulation
  • High-efficiency HVAC units
  • Automated building energy management system (EMS)
  • Excess air control for boilers
  • Improving condensate return
  • Certain brewhouse heat recovery projects
  • Purchasing ENERGY STAR equipment
  • Replacing HVAC units older than 15 years with higher efficient SEER unit
  • Installing programmable controllers and using set back temperature settings during hours when facility is not occupied
  • Installing window blinds or shades for daytime heat reduction
  • Reducing start up time for boilers, conveyors etc.
  • Turning off warming cabinets when not in use

Major Cost Measures

  • Boiler flue stack heat recovery condenser
  • Brew kettle stack heat recovery
  • Renewables
  • New equipment (VSD air compressor, refrigeration chiller, etc.)
  • Installing high-grade energy-efficient windows and doors
  • Installing a “white” or “green” roof for the brewery

Next Steps

We enjoy helping our brewing clients develop strategies to reduce their energy spend and usage by gaining better visibility into their energy profile. The first step for us with a new client is to perform a complimentary energy analysis. We will analyze your consumption profile and risk tolerance. We can then advise on competitive energy suppliers, energy efficiency solutions, “green” power options, and utility bill audits.

As members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild (MABG) and the Connecticut Brewers Guild (CTBG), Patriot Energy is there for brewers and restauranteurs around the North East.

About Patriot Energy Group

Patriot Energy Group is one of the largest and fastest growing retail electricity and natural gas management firms operating in all competitive markets throughout the U.S. As a client-side energy broker/advisor we work closely with our clients to help manage risks associated with energy costs. We offer professionally managed and diverse energy purchasing strategies, which combine unique fixed, index, and hybrid rate structures, as well as a as a comprehensive suite of energy efficiency and management options.

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