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One More Brew for the Road?

Sierra Nevada brewers want to tank up.

by on Feb.04, 2009

Some might call it a tragedy - Sierra Nevada turns beer to ethanol

Some might call it a tragedy - Sierra Nevada turns beer to ethanol

How about one more for the road? The folks at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has an interesting alternative to those who hate to see our corn crops turned into bio-fuel. Working with California-based E-Fuel, which developed the world’s first home ethanol production system, the brewer will help to turn its beer leftovers into a liquid you pour into your fuel tank, rather than your belly.

Before you start screaming, “Oh, the humanity,” understand that the process will rely not on beer itself. You won’t have the option, at the pump, between lager, pilsner and heffeweisse. It’s the stuff found at the bottom of the barrel, about 1.6 million gallons a year of unusable beer yeast, which is otherwise sold off to farmers to feed some lucky – if hung over – livestock.

Normally containing about 5 to 8 percent alcohol, E-Fuel’s new methods will transform the sludge into ethanol, which can be mixed with gasoline, in various dilutions, to run many of today’s flex-fuel vehicles.

Tomorrow's beer-powered beer truck?

Tomorrow's beer-powered beer truck?

“Creating ethanol from discarded organic waste is an excellent example of how the MicroFueler can help eliminate our reliance on the oil industry infrastructure. This is especially true when considering Americans reportedly discard 50 percent of all agricultural farmed products,” said Tom Quinn, E-Fuel founder and chief executive officer. “Using a waste product to fuel your car is friendlier to the environment and lighter on your wallet, easily beating prices at the gas pump.”

A test run will begin by mid-year and if it proves out, those beer trucks delivering Sierra Nevada products to your local liquor store just might be running on beer byproducts before the end of 2009.