Saving 7.6m litres of water at Northern Monk Brewery
Together we saved 28% of Northern Monk's water usage which worked out as 7,608,500L, this equates to £41,000 savings per year. This brought them to the industry standard of 7.9hl of water per hl of beer. A big thank you to Northern Monk for allowing me to use their name and data for this case study!
Northern Monk Brewery is one of the leading craft breweries in the UK. They are known for their innovative beers and their commitment to sustainability. In 2023, Northern Monk submitted data to Brew Resourceful's free benchmarking report. The report highlighted water as a potential issue for Northern Monk, as their water to beer ratio was 10.5 hl/hl, while the industry standard is 7.7 hl/hl.
Northern Monk took action to reduce their water usage. They chose to work with Brew Resourceful to conduct a thorough water audit. Brew Resourceful's audit team spent a day on-site at Northern Monk's brewery to assess their entire water usage. We split Northern Monk's water usage into six categories:
During the course of the day we followed all manner of automated and non-automated processes through and also spent time talking with all brewing team members. Once the audit team had covered all of the 6 categories they left the site and started to quantify how current processes were affecting the water/beer ratio, then proposing process-based solutions and quantifying the savings. All audit team members are previous management level brewers, therefore all process-based solutions are achievable and never negatively influence quality.
When quantifying the savings made by reducing water there are 3 measurements.
The volume (hectolitres or litres)
Value (both raw material cost & true cost of water)
Carbon emissions kgCO2e or tCO2e
In addition to the water savings there were considerable savings made elsewhere, primarily in chemical usage. These additional savings were processed in the same way, the savings of this are detailed in another case study.
Inline with company values, we primarily recommend process based solutions, naturally there will be some form of cost associated and these are always provided. All costs intend to be well below what would be considered as capital expenditure (CAPEX).
Below are the key findings from Brew Resourceful audit teams report. Please note that the report NMBc received detailed in full how to achieve the savings.
Where the savings were found
After assessing the CIP practises across the brewery 42,182hl of water savings were found.
Dry Floor Policy
Changes to the way floor cleaning was approached 2,586hl of water savings where found in the brewery.
Rinse Water Optimisation
Changing the way rinse water was approached offered 11,356hl in water savings a year in the brewery.
Reassessing the CIP programme saved 28,392hl of water a year found in the brewery.
The True Cost of Water
Water savings are interesting because the true cost of water is far greater than the cost you buy it for. The cost of water for NMBc is 16.7p p/hl of water but the actual cost to the business was 55p p/hl of water.
It's common for your cost of effluent to be greater than the cost of water itself, so when calculating water wastage, you need to calculate the true cost of water. Northern Monk also have a wastewater treatment plant so there are even further costs associated with unnecessarily processing water. So their true cost of water was made up of water cost, effluent cost, pumping costs and wastewater treatment costs. Their true cost of water was 55p p/hl.
Savings Contribution (%)
kgCO2e Offsets Required
Click to enlarge charts
Why they used Brew Resourceful
Every brewer has the capability to improve their efficiency, the question is why haven't you already? Brew Resourceful is a service that vastly accelerates the increase in efficiency in your brewery, allowing you to save costs quicker, reduce your impact on the environment quicker and free up your time to focus on all the other projects they have going on. The audit to report process took 2 weeks.
Here is the brewery manager Pietro Maltinti on why Northern Monk chose to use Brew Resourceful:
"Brew Resourceful is that trusted external support that help you focus on the right direction, especially when you are busy with your day-to-day at the brewery. For me, they were an easy choice because of their extensive background in successful craft breweries, his knowledge about true sustainability and industry benchmarks and his flexible mindset in adapting every project to the real brewery needs. At Northern Monk we already knew where to look at, but Chris and Brew Resourceful help us approaching our continuous improvement project with a better view of the whole picture and approaching every action in the right order." Pietro Maltinti.
What will Northern Monk do with their savings?
Assuming no change in volume, Northern Monk can expect to save £41,000 over the next 12 months.
Pietro said "We plan to re-invest these savings to assist with funding a new canning line or a de-aerated system to reduce our CO2 usage"
It's exciting to imagine what you would invest in with £41k in 12 months time. So what would be your top 3?
Ours would be:
1. CO2 recovery - prices start at £50k
2. Solar panels - prices start at £20k
3. Ionised air rinser - prices start at £20k