Abbotsford Brewery, the home of Victoria Bitter, has brewed its 50 millionth beer using solar power.

Abbotsford is operated by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), and produces Carlton Draught, Victoria Bitter and Pure Blonde. The brewery, one of Melbourne’s oldest, has installed over 4,000 solar panels across 8,800 sqm – roughly half the size of the MCG oval.

Hayden Turner, CUB’s Head of Classic Brands, believes this commitment to green power reflects consumer demands.

“We know Victorians want to drink beer that is brewed more sustainably, which is why we’ve undertaken this massive project,” he said.

“This is one of Melbourne’s most historic and revered manufacturing sites, having brewed beer since 1904 – a time when Clydesdale horses were the only way to transport VB and Carlton Draught around town and 50 years before the beer can was introduced to Australia!”

The solar array at Abbotsford has a megawatts-peak of 1.75, and forms part of parent company Asahi Beverages’ sustainability targets.

“While the solar panels are not enough to power the entire brewery, our goal is to ensure Abbotsford is powered entirely by a mix of directly-sourced and offset solar electricity by 2025,’’ Turner added.

The installation of the solar panels was led by Smart Commercial Solar, alongside AMPYR Energy. Smart Commercial Solar General Manager, Maximilian Stenning, said the Abbotsford commission was amongst the most complex projects his company had undertaken in Australia.

“Delivering a project of this scale for Australia’s leading beverages company underscores the commercial strength of solar,” Stenning said.

“Renewables are now even more viable because of the need for energy resilience in today’s market. We completed the project with no disruption to operations while working through the challenges posed by an operating brewery and pandemic.

“Asahi Beverages continues to be at the leading edge of a quickly emerging trend among organisations to embrace ambitious projects that realise economic benefits for the business while reducing the environmental impact of business operations,” Stenning concluded.

The solar panels will reduce the brewery’s carbon emissions by an estimated 48,000 tonnes over the next 25 years.

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