Proof Brewing first in Florida to feature new technology
On April 22 (Earth Day), Proof Brewing Company dropped a bit of big news regarding reducing their carbon footprint and making great beer even better.
The announcement stated, "Proof Brewing Company has partnered with Earthly Labs, an Austin, TX-based company, to become the first craft brewery in Florida to implement carbon capture technology to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Earthly Labs plug-and-play carbon capture technology called CiCi enables craft breweries like Proof Brewing Co. to capture more than 100,000 pounds of waste CO2 or more than 1,500 trees' worth CO2 from the brewing process each year and re-use it to carbonate and package beer. This is one way Proof Brewing Co. is recycling its waste, improving its environmental performance, and giving back to its community for Earth Day."
If there's one thing we've learned in our four years of beer, it's that brewing and science go hand-in-hand. Pour yourself a pint before you read this — go ahead, we'll wait — because there's going to be a bit of science, conservation, and of course, beer in this week's edition column.
Let's start where all good science starts, a question that needs answering.
In this case, if we sent a human-crewed mission to Mars, a planet with an atmosphere mostly made up of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), how would we produce the resources needed for survival?
Enter Robert Zubrin. Zubrin, a former NASA contractor, worked with Johnson Space Center's In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) team in developing technologies to convert the uninhabitable Martian atmosphere into elements essential for exploration — oxygen, water, fuel (methane), etc.
If the projects had stayed strictly in space, well, we probably wouldn't be talking about them. But Zubrin's companies have a knack for taking outer realm technologies and bringing them down to earth. Zurbin is credited with applications that have extracted millions of barrels of oil from defunct oil wells and harnessed natural gas burned off as waste at many oil rigs.
NASA tech helps with CO2 escape
This ability to turn waste into value, specifically CO2, should be of particular interest to the brewing industry. See, while NASA was trying to figure out how to turn CO2 into something useful on Mars, brewers were trying to solve a carbon question of their own. Namely, how to recapture the nearly 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide blown off (wasted) by the industry during the brewing process each year?
The carbon dioxide that not only has so many uses inside the brewery itself in purging lines, cleaning, and carbonating brews; but CO2 that gets scrubbed and dissipated into the atmosphere — not good.
As is often the case in the beer industry, the macro brands had a solution; it just wasn't one that a brewer producing less than 100,000+ barrels per year could afford. The largest brewers could recapture that blow-off and re-use it in the brewery, effectively cutting waste, emissions, and their reliance on CO2 produced elsewhere.
However, roughly 98% of the industry had little choice other than to watch tons of the valuable byproduct disappear only to need to purchase it at a much higher cost. That is, until, 2016 when Amy George, the founder of Earthly Labs, and her team plied their hand at scaling the technology Zubrin and NASA had perfected.
Proof connects with Earthly Labs
George and Earthly saw an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions by bringing the technology to smaller businesses/brewers on smaller budgets. In 2018 CiCi was born, a recapture setup that could scale to nearly any size or budget. And in 2021, CiCi finds its way here — to Tallahassee — and for the first time to Florida.
The press release underscored Amy George's personal connection to this partnership, "As a fellow Floridian, I am so proud to have Proof Brewing as our first Florida customer, using an Earthly Labs CO2 capture unit in my home state," said CEO Amy George. "In addition to making great beer better, Proof is leading the way for blue skies in the Sunshine State, reducing CO2 emissions every day."
"We are committed to improving our sustainability and carbon footprint for our local community and consumers," said Founder Byron Burroughs. "This technology allows us to help our environment but also our commitment to innovation by brewing even better beer." Purer ingredients = purer product.
Once the unit's installation is complete (sometime this summer), Proof plans to showcase that better beer at a release event centered around that first beer featuring the recaptured CO2. The CO2 recaptured from a brew is a higher grade than a brewery would typically purchase.
Cici is about to make a world of difference in what we affectionately call the Craft Capital. Taking the idea of locally produced "Fresh is Best" to a cosmic level — Captain Planet, and we will drink to that!
Mom wants brunch
Proof's latest pop-up is perfect for your favorite mother this Mothers' Day. On Sunday, May 9, starting at 10 a.m. and running until 1:30 p.m., the Proof Brewpub will feature an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet.
Menu items of note include honey butter chicken biscuit casserole, shrimp and grits, and a yogurt bar. But the thing we've got circled, well aside from a few beers, two stations of made-to-order delectability — one avocado toast and the other eggs benedict.
The eggs benedict station offers traditional, crab cake, steak, or southern (featuring pulled pork). Not to be outdone, the avocado station has many options ranging from poached eggs or blackened shrimp to beets and a balsamic drizzle — something for everyone.
Proof Brewpub's first brunch is a ticketed event, and tickets are on sale now at proofbrewingco.com.
Matthew Crumbaker is the co-founder, along with Danny Aller, of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org