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Beer and technology: a collaboration with refreshing and sustainable results

Cerveza y tecnología: una colaboración con resultados refrescantes y sustentables

Mexico. This case study describes how technology can meet the challenge of heat, especially in companies that work with temperature-sensitive products, such as beer.

The National Meteorological Service (SMN) forecasts a hot outlook for Mexico in 2024, with five heat waves hitting the country between March and July. These heat waves will bring with them temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.

Beer has become one of the most popular choices among Mexicans. Between May and June 2023, due to the heat, there was an 80% increase in beer sales, according to estimates by an association of small retailers.

With the support and expertise of Trane, a building HVAC solutions company, The Alchemist Brewery, a brewery renowned for its high-quality craft beverages, was able to create a safe and energy-efficient environment by maintaining ambient humidity control and driving energy efficiency in its buildings and manufacturing facility in Stowe, Vermont.

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From the beginning, The Alchemist Brewery faced challenges in the construction of its new facility, such as humidity control, a top priority in craft breweries due to the rigorous washing and boiling procedures inherent in the brewing process; therefore, for safety reasons, it was required to keep the process equipment and floors as dry as possible.

On the other hand, the comfort of the occupants and visitors was also essential, with a clear goal of maintaining an interior temperature of 23°C and adequate ventilation in an open floor plan.

As part of their environmental responsibility, The Alchemist tried to make the facility as efficient as possible, and also adhered to the city's odor control and waste handling requirements.

A growing industry
The independent brewery industry has grown in recent years due to the growing demand for beers with lower alcohol percentages and experimentation with a wide variety of ingredients that offer unique experiences for consumers.

In Mexico, it is estimated that there are at least 1,500 independent breweries that reached a value of more than US $125 million in 2023, with growth estimated at a compound annual rate of 7.10% until 2032.

This growth has been accompanied by the adoption of sustainable practices due to awareness about caring for the environment. As a result, brewers are looking for solutions to help them reduce their carbon emissions and generate savings in the energy costs of their operations.

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Transformative solutions
To improve energy efficiency, an extremely quiet 80-ton high-efficiency CGAM CGAM scroll chiller was installed, reducing energy consumption and providing a comfortable and quiet environment. In addition, a free cooling unit was implemented that allows the scroll chiller to remain idle when low outside temperatures make it possible for free cooling to take over the entire load, further minimizing energy use.

In terms of humidity and air quality control, a Trane Performance Climate Changer air handler with a CDQ (Cool, Dry, Quiet) wheel was incorporated to ensure an optimal environment for beer production. This innovative technology allows for precise humidity control that is required in craft breweries, and eliminates the need for expensive carbon filters to control odors.

To control system operations and energy usage, a Trane Tracer SC building automation system was implemented, enabling remote monitoring and optimization of space conditions, providing complete control over the operation of the facilities.

Results
The collaboration between The Alchemist and Trane resulted in the construction of buildings that meet the highest standards of quality, comfort and energy efficiency. For John Kimmich, co-owner of The Alchemist: "The result is a new facility that lives up to our standards, the high standards that have brought us to where we are today."

Thanks to the implementation of these HVAC and energy efficiency solutions for buildings, the brewery has experienced a significant change in the working environment, which is more comfortable for its employees. In addition, the effective removal of moisture has contributed significantly to the optimization of production processes, ensuring consistency and excellence in every batch of beer brewed.

Álvaro León Pérez Sepúlveda
Author: Álvaro León Pérez Sepúlveda
Editor - Latin Press, Inc.
Comunicador Social Periodista egresado de la Universidad de Antioquia, con más de 14 años de experiencia en medios periodísticos y proyectos de comunicación digital. [email protected]

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