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Cost cuts at new brewery

Marlon Madden

Cost cuts at new brewery

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When it begins operation at its Newton, Christ Church location later this year, Banks Breweries (Barbados) Limited is expected to make a huge dent in the more than $6 million it currently spends on water and electricity bills each year.
The design of the building and the use of specially designed equipment, said breweries manager Akash Ragbir, will be responsible for saving the company thousands of dollars in operational costs.
“We have a very high roof with a lot of use of translucent sheeting to help improve lighting and save on electricity costs. In terms of the process, one of the major initiatives is the pasteurizer and the washer; those are two pieces of equipment that use a lot of water for washing the bottles and pasteurizing the product.
“The initiatives are in the change of design by the manufacturer which allows a significant reduction in the quantity of water that will be used,” he said.
The brewing company currently spends approximately $3.5 million in electricity charges and about $3.25 million on its water usage.
“The estimated water consumption here compared to Wildey will be much less. This is going to use one-third the amount of water that we currently use in Wildey. I am talking about the entire brewery. We are going to be reducing our water bill by one-third.
“The electricity is going to come down almost by half. Our fuel is going to come down because now we will be using natural gas which is cleaner and cheaper. The main thing about the design of this brewery, which all stems from our strategy, is to cut operational costs and become more competitive,” Ragbir said.
He told the BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the Banks Holdings Limited subsidiary had also constructed a wastewater treatment plant that would recover wastewater, treat it and make it potable. This water, he said, would be used for irrigation, washing of the facility and trucks, among other things.
The wastewater treatment plant is being constructed at a cost of more than $5 million.
Ragbir made it clear that the treated water would not be used in the production process.
According to the Banks official, the use of chemicals should be greatly reduced at the new plant.
 “Things that would normally end up in the sewers will be collected and disposed of properly,” he explained.
Another of the greening initiatives, he said, was the use of glycol as the secondary coolant for the refrigeration system instead of the more harmful gas ammonia.
He said while the new plant was the same as the one in Wildey in terms of the quantity it could produce, the “big difference” was in efficiency. He said the new brewery was expected to run at an 85 per cent line of efficiency, compared to the 55 per cent line of efficiency at which the brewery in Wildey was operating.
In addition, Ragbir said the company would also be deeply involved in an organized recycling effort.
“We have already engaged companies where we are actually going to have a formal programme in place for the recycling of cardboard, crates, glass, metal cans, among other things.
“All these waste products will now, instead of being thrown into a skip and sent to the landfills, be segregated and kept, and B’s Recycling is working with us to take these to their facility for recycling,” he explained.