Filler ‘Up–and Make it a Lite

When you’re in the brewery business, not every ounce of beer makes it to the customer. In fact, bad batches and spillage during bottling can add up to a lot of discarded beer, especially for brewers like Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado.

“We were shipping out up to seven tanker trucks a day to be recycled [for use as a fuel additive],” says Jon Goldman, Coors company spokesperson. But now with new equipment and a partnership with Total Petroleum, Coors will distill all its waste beer on site, turning it into 100 percent ethanol.

Total Petroleum, a service station chain located in the west and midwest, plans to use the ethanol to produce oxygenated fuels at a nearby refinery in Commerce City, Colorado. “Ethanol gasoline is not new,” says refinery manager Steve Sondergard, “but this is the first time a refinery has been linked up directly with a brewery.”

Under the Clean Air Act, many areas with CO2 emissions limitations use oxygenated fuel because it is cleaner-burning. In the past, ethanol was produced mainly from agricultural sources, such as corn, and grown solely for sale to refiners. Following the Coors-Total lead, other breweries and refiners can form partnerships to help create a viable future for alternative fuels.