CO2 Recapture: Promoting a Better World & Better Beer

April 22nd, 2022

Environmental sustainability initiatives promise a better world and in the case of CO2 recapture, that also means better tasting beer. 

For the past two years, Trillium has implemented carbon recapture technology to not just reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but to enhance the quality and taste of Trillium beverages. 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is both a byproduct of the fermentation process and necessary for carbonation – it’s what gives beer its fizz. So the brewing process is a natural fit for a circular CO2 economy, where brewers can capture their own CO2 and utilize it in the carbonation process, greatly reducing or in some cases eliminating the need to buy CO2 from other industries and ensuring fermentation CO2 is the only CO2 in the beverage. As a result, the beer is cleaner all around: for the environment and for the beer drinker. 

“In addition to the sustainability improvements to our business, we conducted several blind sensory panels to demonstrate the gain in quality of carbonation across a range of styles. Commercially available ‘beverage grade’ CO2 almost always contains other volatile organic compounds that can have negative effects on a finished product. Our sensory panels consistently chose the captured gas as the preferred sample for both flavor and aroma,” says Burke Dignam, Director of Quality and Innovation at Trillium.

Since 2019, Trillium has been working with Earthly Labs and their machine CiCi® - shorthand for “carbon capture”-- to reduce emissions, while lowering costs to create new market opportunities for smaller breweries to operate in the circular CO2 economy. Ensuring a robust process in a production scale environment was important to guarantee performance that can be repeated at craft brewers across the globe, not to mention, could be part of Trillium’s other initiatives as well. 

Earthly Labs

“We’ve continued to improve on the system with Earthly Labs, to meet the reality of how a brewery like ours operates. We’re excited to commission a system where we’re able to repackage CO2 into small cylinders for our own taprooms. Maybe at some point we’ll use it in our future greenhouses or even in our culinary program,” says JC Tetreault, Founder at Trillium.

Trillium projects it will reclaim around 200,000 pounds of CO2 per year. Trapping mid-fermentation C02 and topping up with the reclaimed CO2 ensures that 100% of the carbonation in every Trillium beer can be fermentation based. The company has begun filling bottles with reclaimed CO2 and using it in our draft systems at each location, closing the circle by ensuring only fermentation based CO2 in beverages.

For Trillium, it fits right into the desire to manage both sustainability efforts and costs, while delivering on the best quality and taste possible.