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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of Hepworth Brewery, Billingshurst
The Sustainable Business Partnership CIC welcomed delegates to Billingshurst on a sunny morning in August for a Sustainability Tour of Hepworth Brewery. This event was held as part of the SBP CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme which helps small and medium sized enterprises to reduce their costs and greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy.
The event was introduced by the SBP CIC’s Jack Dale, who gave an overview of the different services provided through Utilise Plus. These include grant funding, energy saving reviews, and a variety of events. With energy saving reviews usually costing up to £1,000, Jack encouraged delegates to apply now to make use of this service for free before Utilise Plus comes to an end in September.
Jack then handed over to Andy Hepworth, Managing Director at Hepworth Brewery. After outlining the history of how the brewery started, Andy told us about the sustainability features that had been considered when building their new site. He explained how they applied long-term thinking to ensure that the new brewery would be highly efficient and have minimal impact on the environment. This includes only using locally grown ingredients to make their wide selection of beers.
At Hepworth, they make sure that the spent brewing ingredients don’t go to waste; the spent malt is used to feed cattle, spent hops turned into manure, and spent yeast to make Marmite! What’s more, the draught beer that gets delivered to pubs is sent in returnable containers with a life of 50 years (or more!) and is only served in reusable glassware.
After his talk, Andy took us on a tour of the site where there were many interesting energy saving technologies to see. The brewery makes use of heat recovery from wort cooling to heat water for further brews. The current chillers have 30 % heat recovery producing up to 12kw which they use instead of their old oil-run steam boiler. Assuming one litre of oil costs 60p and they consume 400l every week, the cost savings from these initiatives are £12,000 per annum! Considering that the capital investment was only £1,750, this piece of technology paid for itself in no time.
Their Solar PV array provides them with 30kW electricity which Andy plans to expand in the future. Hepworth also practice water conservation by reusing their rinse water and using their own effluent system where low load goes through to their reed bed system and high load effluent is transported out to a biodigester in Kent to produce gas to burn for electricity. With this vast array of sustainable initiatives, Andy predicts that Hepworth Brewery will be completely carbon neutral within 5 years from now! Like Andy said, “why wouldn’t you do them, they all make economic business sense.” We couldn’t agree more!
The event came to a close with networking and refreshments, including some low alcohol beer tasters courtesy of Hepworth Brewery. Delegates enjoyed the event, with Greg Field of Garden Innovations commenting that it was “an informative and fun insight into a thriving and forward-looking business,” while David Treadwell of Mid Sussex Wood Recycling said it was a “great and informative event with heaps of sustainability in the process and product” and Doug Taylor-Johnson of Sunninghill Construction enjoyed hearing about the “background, development and growth of an environmentally conscious local business.”
This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing about interesting venues, knowledgeable speakers, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.