Since May 2020, the facility has used the machine that usually fills beer kegs bound for pubs to empty thousands of containers instead.
This beer, which would otherwise have been left unsold, is then converted into green energy used to power the brewing kettles and canning pasteurisers at the brewery.
Once emptied, the beer is stored in brewing vessels before being drip-fed into the site’s waste water treatment plant before being put into an anaerobic digester which converts the alcohol in the beer into biogas.
The biogas, which is 100% sustainable and renewable, is then used to supplement the energy the site needs to brew beer and pasteurise and cans.
‘Ways to brew a better world’
According to Heineken, the brewery has processed 83,210 fifty litre kegs – the equivalent to 6,989,640 pints – and created enough power to heat nearly 28,000 UK homes for a day or make 45,488,120 cups of tea since May.
“After all the care, attention and passion that went into brewing the beer in the first place, it would have been a great shame to pour it down the drain – no brewer wants to see their beer not be enjoyed,” Matt Callan, brewery and operations director at Heineken said.
“Our team of engineers and brewers at Manchester found a solution – using our kegging line to empty beer barrels and turning the beer that would have gone to waste into green energy to power the brewing of fresh beer, all ready for when the pubs re-open.
“We’re always looking to find new innovative ways to brew a better world, and this solution is a win-win for drinkers and reducing our impact on the planet.”
According to forecasts from the British Beer and Pub Association, in the region of 87m pints will have been thrown away by the time pubs are able to reopen post-lockdown.