New Wyoming Program Offers Grants for Alcohol Audits
Written by Andrew-Rossi on April 20, 2021
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is in the post-pandemic spirit, offering energy efficiency audits to regional breweries and distilleries.
Thanks to a recent influx of federal money, the department is looking to extend a different type of financial assistance to Wyoming businesses. The new program is offering grants for breweries and distilleries to get audited by a professional company.
These audits won’t be focusing on a company’s products or quality. The priority of the audits is energy usage and helping business owners get more efficient and less expensive.
Brian Hall, WDEQ’s outreach manager, said, “We work hard to benefit our environment and our communities in as many ways as possible. In this case, we’re doing both by helping these Wyoming businesses get pollution prevention audits that can help them save money and be more sustainable.”
The department pays 100% of the cost to send contracted engineers to audit brewery and distillery operations through the grant. Those findings are presented in a follow-up report that includes money and energy savings opportunities, approximate implementation costs, and estimates of possible financial savings.
For example, only 50% of the facilities recover the energy they expend flash cooling their beer. That energy can be used to preheat the next batch of beer and avoids wasting a lot of water.
The catch is that no grant money is given to implement any energy- or money-saving strategies. Individual businesses will pay for the upgrades should they choose to heed the engineers’ advice.
Iconergy, a Colorado energy consulting company, has already been selected to do the audits for interested breweries and distilleries.
The company already has worked in Wyoming, auditing the Wind River Brewing Company in 2019. Their follow-up report included recommendations to complete a project to switch to LED lighting and increase the efficiency of their fan cooling motors.
There were also smaller recommendations, such as replacing a nozzle on the dishwasher.
One suggestion Iconergy has for nearly every business like this is getting a lot of attention in Wyoming: carbon capture.
Yeast gives off CO2 during fermentation. Most places just let the gas go rather than capturing it and using it to carbonate beer.
Natan Simhai, an associate engineer at Iconergy, said, “It’s almost kind of a no-brainer. Rather than letting all of that CO2 go into the atmosphere, you can just capture it and use it back in the brewing process since you have to do that anyway. From a business standpoint and an environmental standpoint, it makes sense.”
There are numerous cost-saving opportunities for these businesses. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality hopes they can do their part to help keep their spirits up – and profitable.
Breweries and distilleries are encouraged to visit deq.wyoming.gov. for more information on the audit program.