Inside Göss - the world's first major carbon-neutral brewery
Fancy a beer with a net-zero carbon footprint? Join edie editor Luke Nicholls high up in the Austrian mountains for a behind-the-scenes tour of the first large-scale carbon-neutral brewery in the world.
The Heineken Company has unveiled its Gösser beer brewery in the village of Göss – home to 25,000 people and the Mur River, which feeds into the Danube. (Video below).
The Göss brewery, which can be traced back to in 960AD, has recently undergone a radical transformation in an effort to reduce its carbon emissions from around 3,000 tonnes a year right down to zero.
In this exclusive video, Heineken invites edie for a tour of its Gösser brewery, to see first-hand the transition from heritage brewery to state-of-the-art sustainability goldmine.
Video: Inside Göss - the world's first major carbon-neutral brewery
Now producing 1.4 million bottles of Austria’s Gösser lager every day, this traditional brewery is powered entirely by renewable and re-usable energy sources, including hydropower, solar PV, waste heat from a neighbouring sawmill, and biogas generated via an innovative spent grain fermentation process.
What’s more, the brewery has delivered major improvements in resource efficiency, with a new boiling system requiring less electricity and water; 90% of waste heat generated in the brewing process re-used to heat water; and a huge 90% of standard 0.5L beer bottles returned, cleaned (with steam generated from the spent grain fermentation process), and reused.
'Gift for life'
In the video, edie meets the man behind the plan - Göss Brew Master, Andreas Werner, who has spearheaded the site’s 10-year sustainability journey.
“We started with the idea to reduce our consumptions and then we came to a deeper understanding of consumer habits and of our losses, and we came up with new ideas we never had before,” Werner says in the video.
“All of the things we invested in had a positive business case – we always had an open ear for our ideas because we had a business case in our hand; we could prove that our measures would not make beer production more expensive.
“To be able to make a brewery more environmentally friendly is really a present – it’s a gift for life.”
We then sit down with Heineken’s director of global sustainable development Michael Dickstein, who explains how this jewel in the beermaker’s crown is now being used as a shining example of what can be achieved across the business as it strives for a 40% reduction in emissions from production by 2020, from a 2008 baseline.
“Who would have thought – 10 years ago, when Andreas started out on his journey, that we have a brewery that is 100% carbon-neutral, and a role model for the entire Heineken organization around the world.
“We have made major progress on CO2 emissions in the last couple of years and I’m very confident that we will be able to meet our 2020 targets and I do believe that we can take many, many more steps.”