Big Storm Brewing reusing CO2 to save money, environment

A Clearwater brewery has found a way to keep its beers nice and fizzy while helping the environment and its bottom line.

Big Storm Brewing is using new technology to recycle the carbon dioxide that they were otherwise putting into the air as part of their brewing process.

"We are producing something naturally that we are then letting dissipate and leave," said LJ Govoni, the president of Big Storm Brewing.

Instead of letting the CO2 escape, they will use hoses to bring the CO2 into the Earthly Labs CiCi machine. It can then be stored until it can be used to pressurize cans and kegs.

Big Storm believes the CO2 they'll save is the equivalent of 1,500 trees a year. This had been technology that was only available for the biggest brewers. But once it became cost-efficient for independent craft brewers like this one, they jumped at the chance to save money and help the environment.

"Protect our coastline, protect our tourism which protects other businesses that buy our product, that is a good thing. What does that mean to us? I think it's just being a good neighbor."

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As the brewery grows, they're likely going to add a second machine, which means they will no longer have to buy CO2 canisters to give their beer the right texture. That can cost a brewery tens of thousands of dollars a year. Maybe best of all, they insist the refurbished CO2 makes for a more crisp taste.

"(It amounts to) fractions of purity," said Govoni. "Those fractions add up with every pint."

There are 50 of these machines in use around the world.

This is the second of these machines in Florida, with the other being at a brewery in Tallahassee.

Because Big Storm also has a distillery, they are going to be using it there as well, the first time that is being done.