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Bottling up savings: a Vermont hard cider story

by Morgan Hood, Account Manager

Typically with growth in sales, companies are in the position to expand and Vermont Hard Cider is no exception, the company is about to open a state of the art cidery in Middlebury, Vermont.  Hard cider is a fast growing market in the U.S.  with hard cider sales to bars, hotels, restaurants, and cafes, surging 49% in 2013. Much like Vermont’s leadership in craft beer breweries, Vermont also boasts one of the leaders in hard cider, Vermont Hard Cider, the maker of the Woodchuck brand.

Even with the challenges of running a growing business, Vermont Hard Cider realized that adding a new tasting room, warehouse, and manufacturing operations could be energy intensive - which could threaten the company’s bottom line.  A commitment to the environment where their apples are grown was another catalyst for choosing efficiency.  Starting at the planning stage with Vermont Hard Cider and their design partners meant Efficiency Vermont could help identify savings potential early and often.

Pressing for energy savings

Over the past year Vermont Hard Cider has been incorporating energy efficiency in nearly every aspect of the new cidery. From the buildings shell and lighting and mechanical systems down to the industry specific production equipment, Vermont Hard Cider has left no apple unturned in the quest for energy streamlining. We’ve been excited to explore some innovative building features like;

  • State of the art cider making equipment that not only saves energy but also pasteurizes without using chemicals,
  • A visitor’s center that resembles an old Vermont barn, but we’re willing to bet you’ve never been in a barn insulated to an R-value this high,
  • And an observation deck that will let guests tour the manufacturing facility, giving a bird’s eye view of all of the energy efficient processing equipment.

An energy efficiency story to drink to

Energy savings estimates on this project show that Vermont Hard Cider’s strategy has paid off. So far, we estimate around 1,200 Mwh electrical savings and an additional 2,400 MMBtus of savings.  This means the electrical energy savings alone on this project will save enough to power the nearby Addison County town of Goshen for nearly four years. The savings continue to roll in as the project wraps up this spring.

A grand opening of the new cidery is planned for summer 2014; we know we’ll be raising a glass of cider to celebrate this local businesses’ commitment to savings and sustainability. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


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