All the news that’s fit to print, at least regarding brewery wastewater and sustainability.

If you have content you would like me to add, use the Contact Me form at the bottom of the page.

Spent grain to combat Red Tide

From Water and Wastes Digest

Two spent grain articles in a row, and again this is something I haven’t heard of before.  Extracting flavinoids from spent grain and adding those flavinoids to seawater.  It’s not being done at scale yet, but an interesting concept.  The article also mentions it can be used to control blue-green algae in lakes.


Beer Waste Saves Montana Town $1 Million On Water Treatment

From NPR

This is something I have never heard of before.  The city is adding a small amount of spent grain into their wastewater treatment process to help with denitrification.  I’ve heard of other plants doing this with trub and waste beer, spent grain is new to me.  They’re probably adding the grain (carbon) it into the anoxic zone of their aeration basin to help the bacteria convert nitrate to nitrogen.


A Success Story From The Alchemist Brewery

From The Brewer Magazine

I really enjoyed reading this article.  I don’t know the people behind The Alchemist yet, but their passion and way of thinking is something the world can use more of right now.  They might have upped the notch for tolerance of risk management though?  Anyway, they started out by building their own high tech, low $ wastewater system for the process wastewater at their breweries which helped them out a lot. Congratulations, I know it wasn’t easy.

See this article for more, they now have an MBBR system from World Water Works.


Trouble for Rhode Island brewers

From Providence Journal

An eye opening article about the troubles with breweries and wastewater in Rhode Island.  I don’t have many clients in Rhode Island yet, but you will see a lot of commonality between content on this website and what they are actually doing.

For me, the most important piece in the article is the local variation from town to town within the small state:

  • Bristol allows users to discharge up to 4,000 mg/L BOD
  • Burrillville has a BOD ceiling of 300 mg/L.
  • East Greenwich allows for higher BOD but charges an additional fee.
  • Cranston sets a daily limit of 25 pounds per day of BOD.
  • Newport allows 200 pounds per day of BOD.
  • East Providence and Westerly have no set restrictions.

This highlights the importance of due diligence before you get too carried away.  Click below for the full story.


Biogill at Woodstock Brewery in NH

From BioGill

Biogill has a pretty cool solution for brewery wastewater treatment.  Time will tell how their system functions in the brewing sector.

When Woodstock Inn & Brewery in New Hampshire expanded to add a 30-barrel brewing system to their original 7-barrel system, the local wastewater treatment plant lacked the capacity for the increased volumes of untreated, full strength brewery wastewater. Brewery Owner Scott Rice, was facing high-strength wastewater surcharges as much as $12 per barrel, with the new sewer discharge limits requiring pre-treatment to adjust pH and reduce BOD and TSS levels to below 300 mg/L.


The Battle of Stainless Steel Vs. Polymer Concrete for Brewery Drainage
From Slot Drains

The people at Slot Drain started some cool blog posts about drainage, floor coatings, and other details.  Here is one of their posts:

Due to the nature of breweries and the sorts of fluids and waste they regularly create, drainage systems require a durable construction. Drain channels should use nonporous and noncorrosive materials that can withstand varying temperatures without the worry of them cracking or breaking. The more durable the chosen drain material is, the better it is for the brewery. A common debate for brewery drainage is stainless steel vs. polymer concrete as the chosen drain material. Here is a brief comparison of the two, to help make deciding easier.


Wastewater Basics for a Growing Craft Brewery

From Craft Brewing Business

This was one of the first articles I wrote way back when I was starting out on my own…

Depending on where you are, wastewater emanating from your brewery can be a non-issue or it can be a major deal-killer type of problem. That’s quite the variation, and it’s true. You will sleep better and have fewer headaches if you are lucky enough to fall in the non-issue end of the spectrum, but not everyone is so blessed. This article will provide a little of bit of insight in to the wonderful world of brewery wastewater and what to do with it.


Spent Grain into Activated Carbon?


This article came across my desk yesterday and I thought it was interesting.  I am a grass fed beef guy, but I do think that cattle feed is the best use for spent grain; they eat it with no processing other than hauling to the farm.  To me (call me a curmudgeon) it looks like this process of creating charcoal from spent grain falls into the realm of technically possible but not financially possible or realistically scalable:

Researchers devised a process that begins with the grain getting dried out. A two-stage chemical and heat treatment follows, which utilizes phosphoric acid and then a potassium hydroxide wash. What’s left behind is activated charcoal, which could find use in applications such as heating fuel in homes, barbecue briquettes, or water filters.


Cambrian Innovation and Lagunitas Brewing Co

From Cambrian Innovation

Cambrian exploded onto the brewery wastewater treatment scene about 10 years ago.  They are continuing to evolve and sweeten their package for brewers.

Cambrian Innovation®, a commercial provider of distributed process water treatment and resource recovery services and solutions, today announced a new agreement with long-time customer Lagunitas Brewing Company. Cambrian Innovation will act as expert consultants to the famed beer maker as Lagunitas works to maximize efficiency and reduce water use at its flagship Petaluma, California brewery.


Wastewater Screening at Worthy

From ClearBlu

ClearBlu does more than screens, they offer microbubble aeration for aerobic treatment of brewery wastewater.  Cool stuff, but they don’t publicize much.

Worthy Brewing approached ClearBlu Environmental at a Craft Brewers Conference. The brewery was still in its planning stages but knew that some extent of wastewater treatment would need to be incorporated to satisfy city requirements. ClearBlu worked closely with the facility’s architect and engineers to incorporate plans and allocate space for a complete aerobic treatment system at the facility


Wastewater Treatment by Reverse Osmosis

From Clearcove Systems

Brewery wastewater treatment without biology.  That is what Clearcove Systems is all about.  Sounds great, but I don’t know enough about them to know if it works well and if it’s affordable?

A brewery needed to effectively clean its wastewater to meet TCEQ permit requirements for water reuse and land application; while allowing for additional capacity to accommodate future growth—all within a small footprint. The customer was also looking for a rural-friendly solution, which means no lagoons and leach fields that use up valuable acreage and create odor issues.


BA Water and Wastewater Guide

From Brewers Association

A cornerstone, and a manual I helped write, the Brewers Association Sustainability Manual.  BA membership required to download.

Craft brewers are innovative leaders in the beverage sector and take pride in developing new products and processes that give both brewery employees and customers options for sustainable living. Despite significant improvement over the last 20 years, water consumption and wastewater disposal remain environmental and economic hurdles that directly affect breweries and the brewing process.


BA Solid Waste Guide

From Brewers Association

Not wastewater related, but pertinent to this discussion.  BA membership required to download.

The traditional disposal option for solid waste (i.e., hauling ‘garbage’ to landfills) has become more expensive in recent years. Old landfills have filled and closed, and the few new landfills that are permitted to open are located further away from populated areas, thereby leading to an increase in transportation costs to the final disposal area. Breweries, like many businesses, are finding that reducing the amount of waste generated can lead to significantly reduced operating costs. In addition, keeping recyclable materials out of the landfills can create a significant source of revenue.


BA Energy Sustainability Guide

From Brewers Association

Again, not wastewater related but still pertinent to this discussion.  BA membership required to download.

Owners and operators may consider energy costs as an expense they cannot control that rises and falls with the price of energy in the area. Depending on these costs, energy reduction may not be a top priority within brewery operations. Breweries that do not pay attention to the opportunities at all levels of their operations, including efficiency may miss out on potential cost-saving and revenue-generating measures.


And that is the latest.

I will do what I can to keep this current, but honestly there isn’t a whole lot of press in this field.

Email works best for me for the first contact (use the contact form below). Sorry I don’t put my phone number on this site, I had it here and was getting too many phone calls at breakfast and dinner.  Thank you very much. John Mercer