Beer to be sun brewed at Red Eye Brewing Company - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Beer to be sun brewed at Red Eye Brewing Company


A Wausau brewery will soon have a unique way to make beer, and it involves the help of the sun.

This summer, solar panels will be added just outside in the parking lot at Red Eye Brewing Company.

They'll help power both the brewery and the restaurant. It's all with the help of a federal grant, which is being offered to breweries who are trying to be more energy efficient.

Breweries across the state applied for the grant and Red Eye in Wausau was one of five to be awarded the money.

Brewmasters at Red Eye Brewing Company produce more than 500 barrels of beer a year. Owners say they want to do that more efficiently.

"We just feel it's real important for us as a business to reduce our impact on the environment," said Red Eye Brewing Company Co-Owner Kevin Eichelberger.

A $20,000 grant was given to Red Eye through the U.S. Department of Energy.

"The craft beer industry is really seeing a lot of growth, and they wanted to help out small brewers with some of those needs," Eichelberger told Newsline 9.

The new solar panels will help power the brewery.

"They will be set up in the parking lot as a car port, so cars will actually be able to park right underneath them," Eichelberger added.

The new solar panels won't be the first of its kind at the brewery. The company already has some on the roof to help heat water for the beer.

"When we brew we use about 465 gallons. So, when the sun is really out, we can get about 180 degree water off those solar panels," said Eichelberger.

Those panels were installed three years ago, and owners say they've already paid for themselves. They say the brewery is always looking for new ways to help protect the environment.

"We're in the process of converting all of our bulbs to LEDs in the restaurant," Eichelberger told Newsline 9.

The new panels will account for about four percent of the total electricity needed. While it's not a lot, owners say every little bit helps.

"With the craft beer industry growing as quickly as it is, we're all seeing a lot of growth and a lot of increased brewing going on," said Eichelberger.

The project is expected to be done by the end of June. Also of note, owners say the new panels will not effect the flavor of the beer.

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