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Edinburgh based drinks manufacturer reduces food waste and improves efficiency

Stewart Brewing is an Edinburgh based drinks manufacturer who contacted Zero Waste Scotland for support to reduce food waste generated by brewing.

In 2018 a food and drink opportunity assessment was conducted by Zero Waste Scotland to help identify opportunities for waste reduction, it was identified that the brewery could benefit from the installation of a centrifuge to separate excess yeast from beer after fermentation.

Centrifugation is an effective way of separating beer from yeast and other solid material, allowing more beer to be extracted per unit of grains and hops used, saving on the purchase of the material and reducing food waste.

The assessment revealed that around 12.5% of beer produced was reported to be lost to yeast slurry which is discharged down the drain.  Installing a centrifuge enabled the brewery to increase product yield, while reducing food waste.

Centrifugation also has the potential to half production time, reducing the need to invest in additional vessels and other equipment, resulting in improved tank utilisation to further increase production levels.  It can also reduce the manual operations associated with handling yeast, as this process can now be automated.  As a result, reducing the amount of manual time spent handling yeast and the requirement to increase staffing levels as production expands.

Centrifugation also improves product quality and reduces the need for finings required to settle yeast out for the beer, which can result in improved product quality.  Finally, it also reduces utility consumption, while the centrifuge itself will have an associated compressed air, electricity and water consumption; these will be offset by reducing utility usage from the brewing process.

The improvements identified by Zero Waste Scotland offered potential cost savings of up to £15,714/year, while eliminating 7 tonnes of food waste and 13.3 tonnes of CO2.

The Waste Prevention Implementation Fund was able to help Stewart Brewery fund the purchase, delivery and installation of a suitable centrifuge which required an investment of £92,112 (excluding VAT).  The support provided by Zero Waste Scotland helped the business to overcome this financial barrier, save waste and prepare for increased production in the future.  Steve Stewart Managing Director at Stewart Brewing says: ‘’We are delighted with the support from Zero Waste Scotland, without which, we would have been unable to progress with this capital project. The machine runs well and is sized for us to grow into. It is good to know that increases in production can be accommodated for, in an environmentally conscious and efficient manner.”

In addition to financial and waste reduction benefits the business has benefited from increased efficiency and production levels.  Production staff are fully trained on the new machinery, helping them to do their job faster and more sustainably.

We're here to help you prevent waste and improve your profitability

Our food waste reduction advisors would be delighted to help your business make similar changes, at low or the phone. Get in touch to find out more, call 0786 433 930 or no cost. We provide advice on site and over email food.drink@zerowastescotland.org.uk

Our support is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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