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Solar powered brewery opens

A new brewery in Surrey has opened using 100% solar power generated on site with plans to keep beer production at low carbon emissions throughout operations. 

One Planet Brewing, which is an off-shoot of Hogs Back Brewery, claims that it will brew all its beers using energy from the photovoltaic panels.

The brewery, which is located in Tongham, Surrey, uses a 15-hectolitre, electric kit after an initial investment of £250,000 from Hogs Back, and will run “semi-autonomously” it said with an “ambition to work with new investors and collaborative partners once trial brewing and marketing are completed”.

The first beer from the brewery, headed by Miles Chesterman who joined Hogs Back in 2012, is a 5.5% ABV Hazy IPA which will be available in keg and cans from this month. The team now aim to develop a number of other styles on the kit, including a New England IPA, a pale ale, Helles, and fruit beers.

The brewery also aims to improve its sustainability credentials through using home-grown, locally sourced hops as much as possible, many of which are grown near to the brewery and require less than one food mile to be added. Beer will be sold in fully reusable kegs, mini kegs and glass flagons as well as aluminium cans, which are the one trip pack with the lowest carbon footprint.

It also said it is looking at distributing through using reusable packaging and an electric dray, working with customers within a 30-mile radius of the brewery to ensure lower emissions.

Capacity will also be limited to the amount of solar energy that it can generate through the brewery’s 5.2 kilowatt batteries. As it will generate more solar energy that required during the sunny summer months, it will see the excess to the grid and buy back during the winter months when solar production is more limited. The team have calculated that it will producer around four or five brews a month on this basis.

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “Our investment to launch One Planet Brewing is an evolution of the ambitious sustainability agenda that has been fundamental to Hogs Back from the outset, and we are proud to have been the founding investor behind this new venture.

“It is, we believe, the first UK brewery to make the commitment to brew using only solar power generated on site. We are working hard on the next steps to take One Planet Brewing beers as close to zero carbon as we practically can for all the elements that we can control and with the minimum of offsetting, ideally within the next year.”

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