Nelson Eddyline Brewery has called in a carbon capture expert from the US to address both a shortage of CO2 plaguing New Zealand as well as improving its sustainability credentials.
The family-owned business is investing “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to install the technology developed by Earthly Labs, which will allow it to capture and reuse its carbon dioxide CO2 emissions.
It will be the first craft brewer in New Zealand to import the system, which is more commonly used in the US.
Although the original driver was to minimise Eddyline’s carbon footprint, the closure of the Marsden Point refinery in March and subsequent squeeze on domestic CO2 supply was the catalyst required to get the deal over the line, Eddyline’s market expansion manager Adam Tristram told the Ticker.
“This gives us a competitive advantage by reducing our carbon, but it also shores up continuity of supply for CO2 which is the lifeblood of the industry,” Tristram said.
Typical breweries produce excess CO2 during fermentation that is not captured but rather vented into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Then they will buy fossil-fuel-derived CO2 for their production and packaging needs, venting this again into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.
Earthly Labs’ technology captures waste CO2, refines it and makes it ready to reuse in brewing and packaging processes.
It has miniaturised the carbon capture technology that has long been reserved for large-scale brewers, making it affordable for craft players like Eddyline, which produces around 200,000 litres of beer a year from the former Pic’s peanut butter building in Stoke, where it is based.
The brewery, which was started by US ex-pats Mic and Molley Heynekamp in 2018 and now employs a further five people, has around 20 different beers in production and is sold in on-premise and off-premise channels across the country.
Its single 440ml cans and four-packs are sold in liquor stores including Liquorland, Super Liquor and Henry’s as well as around 50% – 60% of Foodstuffs stores in the North and South Island.
It added Countdown in September last year, starting with its core range of three single SKUs and in May this year launched its four-packs to now have distribution in around 103 out of 187 Countdowns.
Eddyline founder Mic Heynekamp said the investment, along with a centrifuge process to reduce its water use and soon-to-be installed solar panels, would ensure the company’s carbon footprint is as minimal as possible.