7 Places to Drink Green On St. Patrick’s Day

This blog entry was written by Allie Brown, former Clean Energy Advocacy Manager at SACE.

Guest Blog | March 17, 2015 | Energy Policy, Wind
Credit: Outer Banks Brewing Station

Each year, St. Patrick’s Day brings out the Irish in all of us – that unexplainable urge to wear green and enjoy a Guinness while listening to fiddle music. These days, Ireland offers an entirely new way to ‘go green’ as the Emerald Isle boldly charges into the 21st century powered, increasingly, by clean renewable wind energy.

In less than 20 years, Ireland has built an impressive portfolio of wind-energy projects from a single wind farm at Bellacorrick, County Mayo in 1992 to more than 217 operating wind farms in 27 counties today. Even the quintessential Irish drink is now being produced using wind-energy:  a few years ago Guinness Brewery negotiated a “green electricity” contract with the Irish electricity board (Bord Gáis) so that all electricity purchased for its breweries will be sourced from wind.

While some consider that dying a river or their pint of lager is ‘drinking green’, there are some places to responsibly ‘drink green’ in the U.S. this St Patrick’s Day or anytime on your next vacation. Here are seven examples of wind powered breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Outer Banks Brewing Station: Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

In North Carolina, the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills was the first wind-powered brewery in the United States, providing a unique attraction for the town. Built in 2008, this wind turbine saves the brewing station $150-$250 per month on their electric bill and will offset approximately 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 250 tons of greenhouse gases over its operating life. Additionally, the restaurant hopes to provide educational benefits for the customers and the community. Inside the restaurant, customers can view information on the turbine and the amount of energy it generates. On top of the turbine there is a weather station that contains research equipment that sends data to multiple North Carolina universities.

August Cellars: Newberg, Oregon

August Cellars in Oregon installed a wind turbine that generates 60% of their electricity needs. The turbine is located on Chehalem Mountain and generates approximately 60,000-64,000 kilowatt hours over a year.

Credit: August Cellars

Busch Fairfield Brewery: Northern California

In August 2014, Anheuser-Busch installed their second wind turbine at the Fairfield Brewery in California. The Brewery now generates 30% of their electricity needs from wind energy–which also includes solar arrays. The brewery has reduced its water use by 47% since 2007. Watch the video below to check out the turbine installation:

Wind turbine at McCall Wines Vineyard

McCall Wines Vineyard: Cutchogue, New York:

McCall Wines installed a wind turbine on their vineyard in New York in 2010. The 10 kilowatt wind turbine, while small, saves the winery $2,312 in electricity costs each year! This wind project is a part of the Long Island Power Authority’s Backyard Wind Initiative–an energy program launched in 2009 that provides incentives to help local businesses reduce their energy consumption. McCall Wines has a strong commitment to conservation and the addition of the wind turbine further strengthens their efforts.

Bacardi Distillery: Catano, Puerto Rico:

Let’s head over to Puerto Rico for some wind-powered rum! In 2010, Bacardi Corporation installed two wind turbines to help power the distillery. 250,000 tourists visit the distillery each year to check out the two 250 kilowatt turbines, which offset more than 900 tons of CO2 per year.

Pindar Vinyards: Southhold, New York:

Pindar Vineyards in New York installed the biggest wind turbine (156 feet) in town in 2011. The wind turbine provides approximately 90% of the winery’s electricity use, which results in tremendous savings in energy bills each year. The Vineyard even offers educational tours of their sustainable agriculture and renewable energy on site.

Ariel view of the vineyard’s wind turbine. Credit: Jeff Cully

Anaba Wines: Sonoma, California

It’s only right that Anaba Wines, “named for the anabatic winds that soar through it’s vineyards” installed a wind turbine on site. In 2009, Anaba Wines became the first winery in Northern California to install a wind turbine. The labels on the wind bottles even feature the structure! You can check out one of their “turbine red blends” here.

Anaba Wines’ Skystream 3.7 wind turbine. Credit: Anaba Wines

These wind-powered libations are greatly changing the meaning of the phrase “Drink Responsibly.” Businesses are recognizing the importance of producing products with a low carbon footprint. By installing wind turbines, companies are lowering energy consumption and lowering their power bills. With eco-tourism on the rise, wind turbines have provided these wineries, breweries, and distilleries a unique attraction that may offer additional economic benefits. Cheers!

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