Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary-Designee Kathy Blumenfeld and Sen. Chris Larson on Wednesday met with Lakefront Brewery President Russ Klisch to see sustainability measures built into the brewing process as part of a tour marking Gov. Tony Evers’ Clean Energy Plan Progress Report.
One thing the hospitality industry in Milwaukee needed was charging stations for electric vehicles (EV), Klisch, a founder and owner of the brewery, said. There haven’t been state incentives for hospitality to include electric infrastructure in their operations, he added.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation adopted a plan for the state to obligate around $78.5 million in federal formula funds from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program, according to a letter from WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “The funding will be an investment that enhances the state’s EV infrastructure and makes the benefits of electrification available to everyone in Wisconsin,” he added.
Lakefront Brewery adopted sustainability measures in different levels of the beer making process and building design over the years, such as a thermal store heat management system, solar panels on its warehouse, recycling heat from a refrigeration system, switching from bottles to cans and choosing locally sourced ingredients, Klisch said. A white roof on top of the building lessened the need for air conditioning and the brewery itself was redeveloped from a power plant and brownfield, he added.
“To me, it’s free energy,” Klisch noted about the in-house thermal storage and recycling system.
The thermal store system in the boiler room, which recycles heat from batches of boiling water to make craft beer, prevented heat waste since it was installed nearly a decade ago, Klisch told The Daily Reporter. He got his ideas from other companies like Patagonia and “keeping your ear to the rail,” he added.
The brewery’s commitment to the environment and clean energy was a win for the community, the state and employers, Blumenfeld said. She had seen similar practices in breweries in Madison and Waunakee, she added.
“Creating and sustaining a clean energy economy for Wisconsin is going to take collaborative action across the public and private sector, learning from each other. The Clean Energy Plan is a starting point for how we can best create pathways toward sustainability that will benefit our business community and economy, as well as the health and pocketbooks of Wisconsin residents long term,” Blumenfeld said in a statement.
Blumenfeld also visited Milwaukee-based Stainless Foundry & Engineering and met with Milwaukee Riverkeeper officials on the RiverWalk.