The Mackinnon Brothers Brewing Company, just outside Bath, Ont., is a local staple for people looking to grab a craft beer.
The company prides itself on being environmentally friendly including growing many of its own ingredients on the family farm.
The newest addition to the operation is a piece of equipment that will help the brewery reduce its carbon footprint.
“Now we’re capturing all the CO2 from our fermentation processes, condensing it and being able to reuse it in the brewery,” said brewmaster Dan Mackinnon.
Mackinnon says when beer ferments yeast turns natural sugars into alcohol and CO2. The alcohol stays in the beer, and the CO2 is usually vented into the air.
The new equipment captures the CO2 and pressurizes it. It is then put back into the beer later in the process, creating the white foamy head beer is known for.
Queen’s University chemistry professor Dr. Philip Jessop calls the technology a stroke of genius.
“I absolutely think we should be capturing the CO2 from the beer fermentation,” said Jessop. “That’s going to reduce the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere and because it’s pretty pure CO2 coming off.”
In the long run, the technology is also a cost saver for the brewery.
Normally a brewery buys CO2 to carbonate the beer but Mackinnon brewery no longer needs to.
“We’re able to capture about 500 pounds from each of our large batches, so every time we ferment a big batch of beer we’re able to save a decent amount of money,” said Mackinnon.
To date, the Mackinnon Brothers say they are the only known craft brewery in Ontario using this green technology.