Through the conventional means, the brewing process causes tons of water to be turned into waste; at Angry Erik Brewing, Heide and Erik literally threw out the book and made their own way of brewing. With a motivation to have a greener brewing process, they implemented using a heat exchanger which is a radiator like device that they use clean cool water on one side to cool their hot wort and in turn heat the clean water that they then use to clean the equipment. This saves on both heat energy and water waste which both also in turn helps save on costs.
Rutgers Business School
During the process, after the grains have been separated from the hot water with the sugars extracted from the ingredients called wort. The wort needs to be cooled so during the next stage when it is fermented using yeast, the temperature does not kill the yeast. At this point in the process, the traditional method would use a copper immersion chiller to run cold water through and out to chill the wort, though this method wastes gallons of water. Instead, Heide the head brewer and co-owner of Angry Erik decided to use a heat exchanger that she had previous experience as a biochemist using. Using the heat exchanger serves two purposes for the brewery, it cools the wort to the optimal temperature through exchange of heat with the cool water running through the opposite piping of the exchanger so they never mix and the cool water is warmed to optimal cleaning temperature. Heide mostly uses the hot water to then clean the very sticky residue left in the tank after the wort has been filtered through. This process of reusing the water not just for cooling and dumping it but cleaning with it has saved around 19,200 gallons of water per year and the energy it would take to heat a different source of cleaning water.
Another innovation they consciously use to make their cleaning process more environmentally-friendly is the type of sanitizer they use. They also reuse the sanitizer as a floor cleaner, because after a couple hours of being exposed to light it stops sanitizing, but it is proper for cleaning. The dirt from the floors helps neutralize the cleaner and Heide had said they check the PH of the water to make sure it is safe to dispose of.
Heide and Erik the married co-owners of Angry Erik Brewing, started off as home brewers. They first bought a “How to Brew” guide and after seeing a few pages Heide told Erik to throw it out. Having come from a background as a biochemist and having gone to a culinary institute, Heide understood that brewing beer was taking specific things from the ingredients while filtering out the things they did not want, something she had done a lot of, working with proteins in her job before becoming a brewer. Also it was then adding other ingredients at the correct time and amounts, something she had a background in as a culinary student. So she used an item that she had experience with which was the heat exchanger since she saw the amount of water waste that came from the brewing process taught in the book. Heide and Erik started off with the idea of brewing in a more environmentally friendly way. The knowledge of how a heat exchanger works helped them immensely as they were able to use it to cut down on their water waste and energy costs.
The brewing industry on countless forums talks about at all levels the amount of water waste that happens. Just by doing this process each brewery can save water in the tens of thousands per year and in an industry that is seeing high growth, this water savings can reach millions easily. Additionally, according to Heide, diversity is one of their goals. Most of their team is composed of employees with considerably diverse backgrounds and the majority are females, which is believed to be unusual for the brewing industry. For instance, Heide graduated with a Biochemistry degree, attended a culinary arts program, and managed a restaurant in Manhattan before she and her husband decided to open their brewery. Her husband, Erik, is a lawyer, the assistant brewer is an architect, and the administrative assistant graduated with an English degree. These diverse backgrounds must help in their decision processes when it comes to how the business runs and flows.
The innovation helps the business save money on both water and energy costs. Per year Angry Erik Brewing is saving around 1000 dollars, which in an industry of high overhead costs, any sort of savings can mean failure or success, especially for breweries that are just starting off. Reusing the sanitizer water to then use as floor cleaner also saves on the cost of those types of cleaners. On smaller scale buildings this might not seem important but when it is a building that is 100,000 square feet large it would take at least 2 to 3 gallon jugs a day to mop the floors so those costs will add up quickly.
The qualitative impact this innovation has had on the company has been great for them. It has given them a good reputation and increased the value of the brand. Not only has this innovation had and impact on the company, but it has had some benefits for the environment and society as a whole too. According to recycledwater.com reusing the water can offer substantial benefits to our society including: Reduction of nutrient and contaminant loads into oceans and rivers, providing more drinking quality water for domestic uses by substituting drinking quality water with the recycled water, and reducing demand and stress on freshwater resources such as the groundwater and rivers by providing alternative water supplies.
In some cases short term effects are negative while long term effects are good, but in some cases short term effects are good while long term effects are negative. In the case of this innovation the short term and long term effects on the business, society, and the environment are good. In both instances the business is going to be saving money, it allows more access to clean drinkable water for society, and decreases the amount of water polluted into our oceans.
Heide Hassings, Co-owner
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Newton, New Jersey, US
Business Website: http://www.angryerik.com/
Year Founded: 2014
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Established in 2014, Angry Erik brewing has been innovating the craft beer industry since then. They have not only implemented extraordinary flavors into their beers, but also found a way to recycle and reuse the massive amount of water that is used during the brewing process. Their mission is to “strive to make a constant variety of beer to quench every craft beer lover’s thirst for the next new brew! Unique culinary ideas and fresh ingredients are masterfully combined to create delicious ales that surprise and delight your palate.”