When you think of beer, you probably don’t think about environmental sustainability. But Scott Shomer, and Tony and Jayne Rutter do. The three environmental engineers have combined their expertise and love for craft beer to build Helios Brewing Company, a fully solar-powered brewery in Brisbane’s south.
“From the ground up, we designed this place to be as energy, water and waste efficient as possible,” Shomer says. “It meant pushing the envelope a little.”
The brewery is powered by 59 solar panels and a 15-kilowatt inverter. Around 60 per cent of the energy Helios produces is used in-house, while the other 40 per cent is fed into the grid.
The sustainability doesn’t stop there. The brewery uses local businesses wherever possible: Yeerongpilly contractors assisted in the fit-out and the malt comes from a Capalaba supplier, rather than being imported from overseas.
In keeping with the name of the brewery (Helios is the Greek god of the sun) all the beers are named after deities. Head brewer Charlie Hodgson works closely with the owners to produce six core brews, including the Poseidon Pale Ale and Hades’ Bitter Chocolate Stout, as well as two rotating beers.
Designed by the owners, Helios’s downstairs area holds the brewing operation and a timber bar. Upstairs is more spacious, with a large seating area and board games for kids. Shomer plans to create a large poster to educate people on sustainability while they enjoy their beer. There’s no kitchen, so different food trucks are brought in every night.
While the thought of expanding production sounds exciting for most brewery owners, Shomer says that’s not a focus for Helios.
“This is a project about our passion for beer andpassion for the environment,” Shomer says. “It’s not about selling in bottle shops nationwide or smashing distribution. We don’t care about such things. We just want to be a good, local brewery.”