This is the second post in our Green Spirit Awards monthly blog series, highlighting breweries, wineries and distilleries in the Southeast using clean energy to create tasty, sustainable beverages. You can read the other blogs in this series by clicking here. Cheers!
Legal Remedy Brewing Company in Rock Hill, SC is turning sun into beer. The brewery makes tasty beverages with alliterative law-themed names such as Alibi Ale, Motion to Strike Milk Stout, Pro Bono Porter, and Retainer Red Rye IPA, which are sold in its brewpub and in restaurants and bars around the state. Legal Remedy was the first craft brewery in York County, SC and now has the capacity to produce 10,000 barrels of beer per year — powered by a 30-kilowatt solar power system.
The brewpub inhabits the site of an old car dealership, which came with a big parking lot. The Legal Remedy team wanted to turn part of the parking lot into a beer garden, but to do so, had to make shade to create a pleasant space to sit and enjoy the good beer and food. One of Legal Remedy’s owners, Chad McGowan, was really interested in solar energy and already had installed solar systems on his house and office, so he put forth the idea of creating the beer garden underneath the shade of a solar veranda. The veranda was built with three 8-kilowatt arrays that are typically used for carports. While the beer garden’s solar veranda is a unique architectural feature for our region, most customers have no idea that the roof over their heads is generating power. An additional 6-kilowatt array on the building’s roof brings Legal Remedy’s total solar system size up to 30-kilowatts, which is enough to offset about 35 percent of their electric bill.
Legal Remedy says they installed their solar system for two reasons: 1) business sense; and 2) it fits with their ethos.
The financial case for the solar installation made the decision a no-brainer. While the system represented a $140,000 investment, the brewery will quickly see the returns. A combination of four separate tax credits will repay the investment, rewarding the business for creating jobs (via the South Carolina high growth small business job creation credit), building infrastructure value (via the South Carolina abandoned buildings renovation credit), and installing solar power (via the state and federal solar tax credits). On top of these tax credits, the facility’s power bills are substantially lower than they would be without the system.
The brewery also invested in energy efficiency measures to reduce their bills. They replaced all of their lighting fixtures with LED bulbs. All of their lights combined now use less power than just one of their eleven old 1,000-watt mercury vapor lamps did. Additionally, the business sees value in having the longevity of LED bulbs which reduces time spent by staff needing to replace bulbs. The brewery also did basic efficiency improvements, such as adding additional insulation and making their roof a light color.
Secondly, the solar system fits into the ethos of the business. “We are trying to be responsible adults. We’re trying to leave the place better than we found it. This is no-impact way to provide our energy needs,” said Co-owner Chad McGowan.
By hosting people to have a good time at the brewpub, returning spent grain to farms for pigs and cows to eat, and generating their own clean, renewable power to reduce their bills, Legal Remedy is walking the walk on the sustainability trifecta–benefiting people, planet, and profits. Thereby, we award Legal Remedy Brewing Company the Green Spirit Award! Cheers!