Friday, 22 July 2022

Solar update

Our current electricity rate is about 15 pence per kWh, ignoring the daily standing charge.

The solar array cost us £13,000.

Therefore once the solar array has produced 13,000 / 0.15 = 86,700 kWh (86.7 mWh) it will have paid for itself.

It's cloudy today.

28 months after installation the array has produced 35.85 mWh, or 41% of target, suggesting that, in a further 40 months time, pay back will have been made in full (in a total of 5.7 years). 

Of course, this doesn't take into account the fact that the current rate of £0.15/kWh will at least double when our pre-crisis contract runs out early in 2023. If we factor this in payback will be achieved in 25 months time, a total of 53 months (4.4 years) from installation.

These are 20 year panels, giving us 15.6 years of totally free electricity, and given the present direction of travel, that is going to be worth a substantial amount of savings.

One of our better investment decisions.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Road to Net Zero - Chapter 1

Here's a thing: fermentation produces heat, and if we didn't dissipate that heat the beer would be rubbish, so we use electricity to run refrigeration plants that chill glycol and pump it around jackets on the fermentation vessels, taking the heat away. When the ambient temperature is low, such as in the winter (or at night) the chillers don't need to work so hard, and so draw little electricity, and, conversely, when the ambient temperature is high, such as when the sun shines, the chillers work harder, drawing more electricity. Happily for us this matches electricity production from solar panels - they produce more in the daytime, and in the summer, than they do at night time, and in the winter. In 2020, just as the world locked down, we installed 45 solar panels on the roof of the brewery, and we now have some data to analyse their contribution.

The above graph shows the last 7 days, starting with Tuesday 22nd. The red area is consumption, and you can see how we have a base level of around 2 kW during the night, rising up to over 10 kW on most days as the chillers work harder. The extra tall spikes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are from the cask washer.

The blue area is solar production and it's plain to see that it's well matched to consumption. Green denotes times when production exceeds consumption and the excess goes into the grid. In the last 7 days we've consumed 627 kW hours, producing 57% of that ourselves.

If we're paying 15 pence per kWh, we've saved £53.60 in a week. The total project cost was £15k, so you can see payback is going to be around 8 years at today's prices. 

We're currently doing some feasibility work on a solar roof for the warehouse - it's a chilled space, and so there should be a good match there, but it's also used to charge the fork lift truck, a motorised pallet truck and a delivery van, and, since these activities occur mainly at night, their consumption won't match solar production unless we invest in a battery system, or rethink our habits. Once we have some data on consumption I'll share it with you.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Happy Birthday Old Friend

 I find it hard to believe, but the records confirm it - we've been brewing GADDS' Number 3 Premium Kentish Pale Ale for 20 years. In February 2002 I concocted a very simple pale ale using a high quality pale malted barley variety, and the very best hops I could find, East Kent Goldings. I can still vividly remember my first pint, how it tasted, and how I felt (pretty chuffed). The recipe hasn't changed ever since.

Here's some fun facts about GADDS' Number 3:

  • It was first brewed in the Royal Harbour Brewhouse and Bakers - we'd spent 18 months restoring this derelict restaurant on Ramsgate Seafront that later went on to become the Belgium Bar, the Green Tara and now the Ramsgate Market.
  • Our first customers were The Artillery Arms, The New Inn (Minster) and The Grange. 
  • In June of 2002 the we sold casks of Number 3 to the Montefiore Arms for the first time. The price was £55 each, plus vat.
  • Number 3 won 'Best Beer in Kent' in 2009, and 5 times after that, and was runner up Champion Beer of Britain in 2017.
  • I originally wanted to call it 'East Kent Gold', but was out voted by my fellow founders - both mathematicians, they felt simple numbers would allow the beer to do the talking. I can't argue with that.
Help us celebrate by voting for Number 3 in the Taste Of Kent Awards, and then reward yourself with a case or two of Number 3 from the shop, using the well deserved "ILOVENO3" code at checkout for a handy 20% discount*.


*one use per customer, ends 28th February 2002.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Trouble Brewing

From time to time we need to talk about beer duty, one of the taxes that Her Majesty's Treasury applies to our fun, adding between 20 and 55p to a typical pint. We're happy to pay it, safe in the knowledge that the money raised is used to help fund social necessities such as schools and hospitals, and that the progressive system, introduced 20 years ago, is fair, with the most able (the multinational breweries) contributing the most.

However, as you may have read last year, plans have been drawn up by government to overhaul alcohol duties as a whole, and beer duty in particular. What you won't yet have read about are the implications of these changes, and that's what we need to talk about.

The calculation of beer duty isn't difficult, but it is boring, so I've done it for you. This is what it means for your regular pint, whether that's a beer from a small brewery such as GADDS' Number 5 Best Bitter,  a beer from a medium sized brewery such as Pig's Rump Best, or a beer from a massive multi-national corporation such as Green King Best. 

Small brewery beer duty will rise from around 24 to 27 pence per pint. Taking into account the pub's margin and vat, you'll likely see a rise of 8 pence a pint at the pumps.

Medium sized brewery beer duty will fall from 36 to 31 pence a pint, and you'll see the price at the pump drop by about 14 pence.

And mega-corp beer duty will also fall, from 48 to 45 pence leading to drop at the pumps by around 7 pence.

You'll have noticed that the largest, and the medium sized, brewers are to see a lowering of their duty liabilities, and you'll have noticed too that it's the smallest brewers paying for this. Why would the government do this? I honestly don't know, I've heard all the reasoning and none of it stacks up to scrutiny. Private Eye think they have a clue though:

Private Eye, September 2020

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

More Hop Harvest News



The much anticipated East Kent hop harvest has finally, falteringly, begun. Whilst growers out in the West Country have been busy for a week or more, most in Kent would agree that the local plants are a few-days-to-a-week behind. This is pretty unusual - hops begin to flower according to day length (for instance they go into 'burr', the first sign of flowering, on Summer's Day, the 25th July) so harvest is fairly predictable. However, this year's cold spring and disappointing Autumn, whilst not slowing flowering down per se, has kept the aroma development behind schedule. This current spurt of Indian summer has come just in time though, and those little heavenly cones should finish themselves off very nicely over the coming few days.

New Grower News
Since the sad closure of Humphrey's hop gardens, earlier this year, we've been busy getting to know John & Anna Clinch over at Syndale Farm, situated in a valley north of Faversham (anyone know the name of the valley?). I'm very happy to report that it's not only their East Kent Goldings that are of true origin and world beating quality, so are the growers! This is a small farm, run with passion, knowledge and heaps of laid back friendliness. And in Anna they have a grower for the future, so we get some long term hop supply stability once again. 

Green Hop Day - Saturday 18th September
Whilst much of our green hop brewing schedule has been delayed by a few days, we begin tomorrow morning with the first gyle (batch). I'm expecting the hop aroma to be a touch understated and we're planning to 'dry hop' this as we cask it next week to allow for that. You can join in too as we tap the very first barrel of Green Hop Ale 2021 up at the brewery at midday, Saturday the 18th. The freshest of beer will then pour until 4:45pm whilst we dance and fool around with the incomputable GADDZUKES! and enjoy Lisa's wonderful kerbside 5-star food. There is a small charge for tickets but you do get your first pint for free, so it's free, really. Tickets are available here.

Cask Green Hop Ale will go out to pubs and be available throughout East Kent from late September until mid-October (but is sometimes difficult to find as it sells out quickly).

Bottled Green Hop Ale ought to be released by October 1st but supply chain issues may delay this. We'll let you know.

The first pints of Green Hop Ale will be available in the Monte on the evening of Tuesday 21st. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

Hop Harvest Special Edition!


Brewing beer in East Kent is a rare privilege indeed – not only do we have gorgeous beaches and fabulously quirky seaside pubs, but we also have the world class East Kent Golding hops (you may have heard me mention them once or twice?). For all sorts of reasons Kent became the centre of UK hop growing and, despite all sorts of other reasons, it remains so to this day. And sometime around 200 years ago the Golding variety of hop was bred, and then cultivated round here, where it grew outrageously well, and still does.

Under normal circumstances hops are dried in order to preserve them for use throughout the year, however, during harvest we can nip out to the farm and beg, borrow or steal sacksful of freshly picked, lusciously green, undried flowers of nirvana, before rushing back to the brewery and tipping them into the day’s brew.

The resultant beer is a deliciously rounded pale ale with a touch of zest and the spirit of the East Kent Hop harvest. Obviously, this is a great thing to be celebrated and we’re kicking off this year’s fun with a tapping of the first barrel (and drinking it, and eating lovely food, and dancing with GADDZUKES) on Saturday 18th September.

Tickets are the price of a pint, and you get your first pint free. Here’s where to buy them.