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Cascade Brewery Company: Using technology modifications to reduce energy and water use and enhance materials recycling

Over the past decade, Cascade Brewing Company has developed a strong environmental management focus of minimising environmental harm, and implemented cleaner production measures to reduce resource wastage and minimise waste outputs. Using good housekeeping, technology modification and recycling, the Company has achieved considerable reductions in water usage, wastewater to sewer, solid waste, and energy conservation. Specific water consumption per unit of product has dropped by 60% in the Brewery, by 55% in Beverages and by 38% in Malting since July 1996.


The Cascade Brewery Company Pty. Ltd. ("the Company") holds a unique position in Australian cultural history as the oldest operating brewery in the country. The Brewery commenced operations in 1824, and in 1885, a cordial and aerated water plant was installed on the site.

From those times, the Company has continued to focus on the production of traditional beverages at the two integrated plants. The Brewery produces a range of bulk, bottled and canned beers and stout, mostly under the Cascade label for both the local Tasmanian and interstate markets. The Beverages section of the Company's operations produces cider, vinegar, fruit juice syrups and concentrates, and a range of carbonated soft drinks.

Since 1993, the Company has also been a wholly owned subsidiary of Carlton United Breweries (CUB), which is a member of the Fosters Group Limited.

Cascade's Brewery and Beverages operations are located off Cascade Road, Hobart, Tasmania, and fall under the jurisdiction of the Tasmanian Government's legislative framework.

While meeting all of the State Government's statutory provisions for environmental management and pollution control - dating back to the introduction in 1973 of the State Environment Protection Act and its Regulations (now rescinded) - the Company has striven to better these requirements due, in part, to its sensitive position adjacent to the Hobart Rivulet and near parks, gardens and residential areas, and also to reflect its focus on the long-term goal of sustainable resource management.

In recent years, the Company's environmental management activities have focussed on processes aimed at minimising wastage of resources and waste output.

Over the past decade, in keeping with its continual improvement ethos, the Company has utilised Cleaner Production principles primarily to reduce wastes via a hierarchy of measures comprising avoidance, minimisation, re-use and recycling, as well as to conserve energy.

During the past five years or so, this programme has accelerated, with strategies (some innovative to the industry sector) implemented for the development and maintenance of an Environmental Management System (EMS) complying with the ISO 14001 Australian, New Zealand and international Standard.

The Company was certified to this Standard in 2002. Importantly, to maintain this certification, continual environmental management improvements are called for. Thus, the impetus for achieving Cleaner Production goals is continuing.

The Process

The basic sequential processing steps for the production of beer, and of fruit juices and beverages are illustrated in the two simple flowcharts below.

For the beer-producing plant, Tasmanian grown barley is converted to malt in the Maltings section of the complex. The crushed malt (or "grist") is mixed with hot water, and enzymatic action converts the malt starch into fermentable sugars. The liquid (or "wort") is separated from the spent grain and boiled. Hops and sugar may be added during the boiling, depending on the type of brew. Solids or "trub" are separated out, and the clarified wort is pumped to fermenters, where brewers' yeast is added. Sugars are converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide over a fermenting period of about one week. The green beer is cooled, settled, matured, filtered and finally carbonated in readiness for packaging. The packaging line incorporates container rinsing and pasteurising.

In the Beverages section of the plant, there are several processing chains depending on the final product. The main sequence leads from the delivery of fruit (apples, soft fruits or berries) through washing, crushing and pressing. Apple juice may be directed to the cider line, or, as for the berry juices, pumped forward to clarification and pasteurisation steps. Other processing and packaging steps are added to, or deleted from, the basic series to produce a wide range of beverages, including fruit concentrates, syrups and carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, or cider, or vinegar, before being offered to the market.

For a more detailed description visit:

Simplified flow chart of beer production

Figure 1.1: Simplified flow chart of beer production

Simplified flow chart of beverages production

Figure 1.2: Simplified flow chart of beverages production

Cleaner Production Initiative

The process and cleaner production initiatives adopted in recent times have been focussed on the following areas:

Each of these items is briefly outlined below:

Water usage

Water is supplied from two separate sources - the Hobart Rivulet and the Hobart City Council's domestic mains supply. Use of purified mains water is necessary for product and any application where contact with product or containers are possible, largely because of hygiene and product quality requirements. Wastewater recycling is traditionally constrained within the industry, once again because of the necessity for strict hygiene controls.

Nevertheless, the Company embarked on a wide-ranging programme of identifying opportunities for the collection and re-use of wastewater, including such applications as the watering of adjacent lawns and gardens. As the investigation proceeded, it became apparent that there were also some processing areas such as cooling application where relatively clean wastewater could be re-used. Re-use is implemented via large volume collection tanks at both the Brewery and the Beverages process areas, with automatic controls established to ensure optimal recycling within and between operations.

Additionally, each development proposal has included an analysis of avenues for reducing water requirements. A recent example of this is the re-design and expansion of the cider-making plant, where the following measures were initiated:

The water savings flowing from the above measures amount to about 200 kL/day.

Other recent developments in water use reductions have included the following actions:

Water usage, per unit of production, has been reduced as follows (Table 1), with reference to the baseline year of 1999/2000*.

Table 1: Water use per unit of production 1999/2000 compared with the half year to January 2003
Process Plant Area Water Use, KL per unit of production Improvement %
July 2002 - Jan 2003

Details of annual averages from 1996/97 are indicated in Table 2 following. Overall, water consumption per unit of product has dropped by 60% in the brewery, by 55% in beverages and by 38% in malting since July 1996. The volumes of wastewater recovered for recycling in the last half of 2002, as monthly means, are listed in Table 3.

Table 2: Annual water usage
Period kL/tonne Maltings kL/kL Brewery kL/kL Beverages
July 96 - June 97
July 97 to June 98
July 98 - June 99
July 99 - June 00
July 00 - June 01
July 01 - June 02
July 02 - Jan 03
Total Efficiency Improvement

Table 3: Water volume recovered from July
Month Brewery recycled water kL Beverages recycled water kL Total kL
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
Monthly mean

With reference to Table 3, it is noteworthy that the measured average wastewater discharge to the sewer from the premises during that period was 14,159kL/month, demonstrating that the recycling initiatives have reduced the sewage volume by 29%.

Sewered wastewater quality

All process wastes are directed to the sewer, with agreement from the Hobart City Council via a formal Trade Waste Agreement.

In conjunction with water re-use and water savings initiatives, the Company has investigated avenues for reducing the quantity of materials lost to the sewer with the trade waste, particularly in terms of cleaning chemicals, products and process by-products.

Successes to date have been recorded from a variety of projects, some of which are summarised below:

Solid wastes

Minimisation of solid wastes directed to landfill is the third facet of the application of Cleaner Production principles.

Every category of solid waste stream inventory, such as crown seals, diatomaceous earth and glue and ink containers, is now considered as a potential usable resource.

Recovery and redirection of wastes include:

Table 4 below summarises the recorded annual tonnages of the main solid wastes directed to disposal. The significant improvements achieved are evident (particularly during 2002), and the target of creating less than 100 tonnes/annum of solids wastes has been bettered by a considerable margin in that year.

Table 4: Solid wastes recorded annually
Items Tonnes
Waste Materials 1997/98 1998/99 1999/2000 2000/01 2001/02 First half of 2002/03 % Reduction based on 1997/98
General rubbish 128.72 97.93 159.26 131.21 49.64 32.92 74%
Diatomaceous earth 32.11 26.29 12.88 6.34 5.19 1.82 94%
Fly ash 29.29 29.08 18.44 23.46 23.83 9.82 66%
Boiler ash 2172 1560 100.5 0 0 0 100%
Pomace - 30.41 29.94 0 0 0 100%
Yeast 294.67 323.03 334.29 217.41 0 0 100%

Energy Conservation

As part of the strategy aimed at reducing the use of resources, the Company has been actively involved in improving energy usage efficiency, with a conservation programme commencing in 1996.

Internally, targets for energy efficiency are set annually. Audits are conducted to identify sources of wastage and inefficiencies, and awareness training is supplied to all employees. Project designs are analysed to define practicable avenues for energy conservation.

The conservation programme has resulted in a coal usage reduction of 68% over the past five years, and an overall carbon dioxide emission rate reduction of 65% in the last three years.

Typical of the energy use focus in project design is the expanded and refurbished cider plant. At the cider plant:

Typical of projects aimed at curbing energy consumption is the installation of a heated water return system from the carbon dioxide plant and air compressors back to the boilers as makeup feedwater.


The most significant advantage resulting from the waste saving initiatives relates to the Company's environmental management ethos, and the principle of continual environmental management improvement as required by commitment to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard.

The cost savings are of secondary importance, and have arisen from:

The benefit to the Company's image is another important factor. Amongst its employees these initiatives have resulted in greatly enhanced "team spirit", where every person is involved in auditing, planning, reporting and recording.

Also deemed paramount are improvements to the Company's collaborative and cooperative relationships with the Hobart City Council, which is the authority charged with the responsibility of treating wastes to modern environmental standards.

Community attitudes are also fostered by open days, inspections, newsletters and the Group website.

The Company's reputation for introducing and maintaining environmental management well beyond the baseline statutory requirements is a key to the public's perception of the Company's products.

Advantages in terms of occupational health and safety have been achieved in partnership with environmental management procedures. Particular instances are the robotic keg filler, the bulk detergent system, the reticulation of cleaners to CIP systems, the introduction of automated CIP equipment, and internal "environmental design" of new and expanded plant for spill control and improved access.


As for all commercial concerns, the principal barrier to the implementation of environmental management programmes is the availability of financial resources. This is especially evident for waste minimisation projects.

Where major capital costs are involved, and a project cannot be justified on financial benefits or short-term payback, the Company looks towards salvaging plant and equipment from elsewhere. Tanks are refurbished for relocation and re-use for wastewater collection and redistribution. Redundant plant from closed-down operations on the mainland has been utilised to provide footings, cooling jackets, pipework (mostly stainless steel) and the like, to enable planned resources savings. In-house engineering is applied to adaptation of items of plant and equipment from a wide variety of sources, and considerable expertise has been developed to accomplish the dual aims of cost reduction and materials re-use for waste savings initiatives.

Further Developments

Waste reduction projects will continue to be advanced, as part of the Cleaner Production ethos, and in accordance with ISO 14001 requirements.

One project currently in the throes of implementation (February 2003) is the establishment of wastewater holding vessels for quality equalisation, metering to sewer at off-peak times and rates recommended by Hobart City Council, and neutralisation of the waste if needed and appropriate.

Employees are encouraged to put forward innovative ideas and to become involved in the implementation of these ideas in all aspects of environmental management, including waste reduction.


Pamela Lincolne
Cascade Brewery Company Pty Ltd

GPO Box 1493,
Hobart, Tasmania, 7001

Telephone: 03 6221 8304
Fax: 03 6212 8350

Implementation Date: 1996 to 2003
Case developed by the Centre of Excellence in Cleaner Production (Curtin University of Technology)
Last modified: June 2003