Turbine – Garage Project
Sep 03 2019


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Back when we started Garage Project our plans included some quite lofty ideas. We imagined building a business where in addition to brewing beer, we would look after our employees, engage with the community, throw our support behind people trying to do cool things and trying to minimise our environmental impact.

The reality of trying to survive as a small business can often make it challenging to find the headspace and resources to address all the things you would like to achieve. But as we’ve grown we’ve tried to stay true to this initial vision.

When I look at our ‘scorecard’ so far I feel pretty good about our ongoing work with local community groups and charities like the SPCA, Kaibosh and the Freestore, and with environmental groups like the Million Metres Streams Project. Internally we’ll be completing our transition to the living wage later this year and offer our staff a range of other benefits, including $300 towards buying a bicycle, free mental health counselling if needed and free education and training in areas from brewing and cicerone to sign language and Te Reo.

In terms of our environmental performance we’ve always tried to look at minimising our impact. We have our own sustainability officer who’s been working for the last couple of years on projects around recycling, waste and water use, but we feel that now is the time to take our commitment to reducing our environmental impact to the next level.

With so much in the news about the state of our environment it’s easy to feel frustrated and even overwhelmed. But while there may be a lot beyond our control, there are things that we can do. For Garage Project, what we can control is the way we do business and the decisions we make as we grow.

Over the years when we’ve travelled overseas we’ve come across some truly inspiring breweries doing remarkable things to give themselves the lightest environmental footprint possible. Breweries like Sierra Nevada in the States sport massive solar arrays, treat and harness gas from their waste water, collect CO2 from their ferments and reuse it around the brewery and even use a giant industrial composter to repurpose food waste from their bars. 

We may not yet be in a position to invest in the kind of equipment and infrastructure breweries like Sierra have, but what we are able to do now is commit to the process of making Garage Project a carbon neutral business.

When we think about what goes into making beer we tend to think of malt, water, hops and yeast - but of course energy is a crucial ingredient in every pint. 

Sunshine is unfortunately a luxury not available to us at Aro. As it is we’re close to having to give our brewers Vitamin D shots and light therapy after a winter on the dark side of the Street. However, what our home town has in spades is wind. Quite a lot of it actually. Wellington is, I believe, officially the windiest city in the world. Not a town for umbrellas, loose summer skirts or nervous flyers, but pretty good for making wind power.

Which brings us to Turbine. Turbine is a pale ale brewed with NZ grown Gladfield malt and a selection of our favourite hops including Riwaka, Galaxy, Citra and Strata. It balances clean juicy malt flavour with hints of tropical fruit and citrus, creating a beer that is satisfyingly full flavoured while also being supremely drinkable. 

It began its life as a beer that was more about the place we live in than anything else, inspired by the Brooklyn turbine that sits on the hill above Aro Street - a Wellington icon and a constant reminder of our defining climatic feature. 

The release of Turbine also seems like a fitting way to mark the beginning of our journey towards brewing beer in a more sustainable way.

This beer will be the first product in New Zealand to use Meridian’s new renewable energy mark. The renewable energy certificate is provided by the NZECS and exists to allow consumers of electricity to match their consumption to a particular type and volume of electricity generation that they value. The NZECS performs a number of key activities ranging from the audit of a power generation facility, to the issue of a certificate against a unit of generation, to the transfer and redemption of this certificate against an energy user’s actual consumption. In addition to this, the NZECS measures all certificates against all supplied electricity, to make sure that nothing is being counted twice. Using the system, businesses can purchase grid-supplied electricity for your business along with certificates related to generation facilities, to certify that their consumption is matched by a particular type of generation.

We are also beginning the process of off-setting our natural gas, refrigeration, travel, freight and vehicle use so that Turbine, and the rest of Garage Project’s beers will eventually be produced in a carbon neutral brewery.

It’s going to be a long process and will require a lot of work, but it is a path we feel is not just important but necessary. 

So there you have it. Turbine, a beer to mark the beginning of a journey (and use as refreshment on the way). If you want to join us, you’ll find Turbine available at our venues, good bottle shops and at supermarkets across New Zealand.

Doing the right thing can also taste great.

We’re beginning our journey towards making Garage Project a carbon neutral business. To mark this we’re releasing Turbine, debuting Meridian’s 100% renewable energy mark

- Pete


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