The ultimate craft: Florida brewing company working to reduce carbon footprint

Big Storm Brewing Co. is the first in the state to capture and reuse carbon emissions from brewing and distilling operations.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A Florida company is taking the brewing industry by storm with its unique capturing and reusing of carbon emissions during the beer-making process.

With a name like Big Storm, it's no wonder why the Florida brewery is forcefully working to reduce its carbon footprint one beer at a time.

Big Storm Brewing Company uses innovative technology to reduce its carbon emissions, becoming the first Florida distiller and brewer to do so.

The brewing company is working with Earthly Labs and their innovative system. CiCi is Earthly Lab’s carbon-capturing technology, allowing for energy-efficient capture, purification and reuse of carbon dioxide from small-scale sources.

Knowing that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and has proven to increase Earth’s warming over the years, Big Storm installed systems that allow the company to capture carbon dioxide from the brewing and distilling process and reuse it.

"We want to be a good neighbor," Big Storm co-owner L.J. Govoni says. "This move allows us to be more eco-friendly and better protect the environment."

Govoni says that it will have one system for brewing and a second for its distillery.

It all comes down to the fermentation process when dealing with carbon dioxide.

"CO2 is a byproduct of fermentation. The yeast is eating the sugars that we’ve extracted traditionally from malt and turning those sugars into alcohols. And so, CO2 is a chemical chain byproduct of that," Govoni says.

The fermentation process produces carbon dioxide, and the technology captures the CO2 off the beer and then in the distilling tanks. Both the beer and distilling tanks work to purify the CO2.

"Much like distillation, we’re going to turn the gas back into a liquid," Govoni says. "So, we’re going to condense that CO2 into a liquid form, and that’s how we store it."

The purification of the CO2 will then be reused onsite to carbonate and package beer.

"In addition to the environmental benefits, the recovered CO2 makes for a better product," added Govoni. "Reusing the purified carbon will give the beer a nicer taste and mouth feel."

Big Storm will capture the equivalent of more than 1,500 trees worth of CO2 every year.

"Leading distillers like Big Storm are studying their CO2 emissions and looking for ways to capture, reuse, sell or convert CO2 to keep it out of the atmosphere," said Earthly Labs CEO Amy George. "Big Storm’s willingness to provide a live lab to innovate is priceless – helping us to accelerate market-driven climate tech innovation to meet the climate challenge."

The brewery is working with Earthly Labs to advance research and development for the distilling industry and share those insights.

"I hope that we can show other distilleries, let alone breweries, but even just distilleries that you’re doing something good for your community, and it also is a good business decision," he says. "We want to be proactive by reducing our carbon emissions to ensure a better future for everyone."