Frederick Miller had a unique brewer’s yeast he truly believed could become a great beer. When he emigrated from Germany to Milwaukee, he brought $2,300 and that dream to the Plank Road Brewery. Miller bought it in 1855 and it still sits on the little hill, in the same location but surrounded by “The Miller Valley” and the Miller Brewery. As the 5th oldest operating brewery in the country, Miller remains one of the most recognized brands within the Molson Coors Beverage Company. In the last decade, Molson Coors continued the strong partnership with We Energies and Focus on Energy, demonstrating its commitment to energy efficiency and conservation. This partnership and the continuous energy efficiency improvements made every year at the Miller Brewery is why Focus on Energy is honored to present the Molson Coors Beverage Company with a 2022 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award.
“This facility truly is a shining example of what can be done,” Public Service Commission Chairperson Rebecca Valcq said. “When corporations take the time and make the financial investments into ensuring that their plants are the most efficient, and most cost effective they can be.”
Miller Brewery implemented more than 30 energy efficiency projects since 2012, reducing annual energy consumption by 7,300,000 kWh and 650,000 therms.
What does that mean to all of us?
Saving that much energy is equivalent to:
“Molson Coors earned nearly $500,000 in incentives by saving over 3,000,000 kWh and 385,000 therms of natural gas in 2021, alone,” Focus on Energy Advisor Richard Feustal said. “That’s nearly 1,000,000 more kWh and 70,000 therms more than Molson Coors saved in the preceding six years.”
The brewery's Energy Team and Facilities Engineering staff continue to tirelessly chip away at the simple Energy Efficiency opportunities: LED lighting upgrades, steam and compressed air leak and repair surveys, and variable speed controls for pumping and fan operations. Digging deeper into developing and implementing large and complex projects has brought this company to a higher level of energy efficiency performance. For example, the Miller Brewery has successfully implemented energy efficiency projects improving the performance of their ammonia refrigeration system, compressed air utilities, boiler plant, and recovering waste heat. Two major investments significantly impacted the brewery. First, the brewery installed a condensing stack economizer at their boiler plant.
“They were able to execute heat recovery projects where they are taking waste heat going out of the stack and put it back into the process,” We Energies Energy Engineer Jim Stebnicki said. “So instead of just wasting energy, letting it go, they turned that into money savings and conservation.”
This stack recovers heat from the boiler stack previously lost into the atmosphere returning this energy to the process heating loop. Secondly, new equipment was installed in the compressed air plant. Centrifugal compressors fitted with heat of compression (adsorption) dryers. This drying technology utilizes the thermal energy waste from the air compressors to power an adsorption dryer.
“When you look around at this historic campus, making improvements is no small feat, Miller Brewery Plant Manager Brad Long said. “We’ve achieved it through a couple of ways. One, through good goals. But two, our employee engagement. Our employees make it happen. They’re the ones that make these ideas come to life, make sure they are sustainable.”
Since 2017, Miller Brewery has participated in Focus on Energy's Strategic Management Program (SEM). The brewery has invested in a comprehensive network of energy submetering so they can better understand how their site consumes energy and verify the impact of production changes and implementation of energy conservation projects.
“This valley truly deserves the best and Molson Coors is the best,” Wisconsin State Senator LaTonya Johnson said. “They are an anchor for this community, an anchor for the city of Milwaukee. We are just so honored to have them here and this award proves without a shadow of a doubt that they are doing the responsible thing to the fullest.”