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Brewery saves 1 million gallons of water with dry-running conveyor system

Amid a record-setting drought, the company met sustainability and productivity goals. By Josh Bond

Sierra Nevada Brewery is located in Chico, Calif., where a drought spanning from 2012 through 2016 produced the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record. After retrofitting its keg line 16 months ago with dry-running conveyor that requires no lubrication or water, the brewery has already saved approximately 1 million gallons.

“We already picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit when it comes to sustainability,” says Pat Young, project manager at Sierra Nevada. “But we were able to support California’s need to reduce water usage while meeting productivity requirements. It was something no one had done before.”

The new conveyor line (Regal Beloit Corp) runs without the use of water, soap or dry lubricants, which has also helped to reduce component maintenance, slip hazards and premature failure of bearings, gearboxes and other conveyor components. Made of low-friction, FDA-approved materials, the conveyor is designed for food and beverage applications.

“The team was also able to reduce the clean-in-place frequency, saving time as well as water,” said Young. “Considering all the different areas where we’ve reduced water usage, running a dry keg line translated into approximately 750,000 gallons of water saved annually. The solution helped turn my dream of a lube-less conveyor system into a reality.”

Sierra Nevada has been recognized on local, state and national levels for its commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and the Chico brewery was certified by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council as a zero-waste facility in 2013.

About the author
Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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