It’s no secret the craft beer market has grown dramatically in North America. Local breweries and brewpubs are popping up across all regions of the United States as millennial consumers seek unique, flavor-rich brews. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries – the most at any time in American history. With more breweries than ever before, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry*.

As the number of breweries in the United States continues to rise, so does the need for equipment designed to handle critical process operations in brew houses. Motivair Corporation, based in Buffalo, New York, recently completed the installation of a large screw chiller with integrated free cooling for the von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, Vermont. The brewery, which opened its new facility in 2015, brews around 50,000 gallons of lager each year in its 40,000 sq. ft. space, according to its website.

A refreshing solutions for optimal energy savings.

Because of the brewery’s geographical location in the northeast, a low-temperature chiller that could operate year round outdoors without any issues was critical – a substantial design range to ask of a low-temperature air-cooled chiller. The solution? A free cooling chiller that would offer optimal energy savings and reliable performance in varying ambient temperatures. Thermal Environment Sales worked with design firm Pearson & Associates, Inc. (Stowe, VT) to specify and procure Motivair Corporation’s MLC-FC large screw chiller for the job because of its “Free Cooling” capability. The free cooling not only provided von Trapp Brewery with 100% free cooling at 5°F, but also protected the refrigeration circuit from the cold, sometimes frigid temperatures in Vermont, since the refrigeration plant does not need to be utilized below 5°F.

Motivair’s proprietary design provides von Trapp Brewery with year-round energy savings, but especially in the cooler months. Natural wear and tear on chiller components is dramatically reduced when utilizing free cooling, due to fewer running hours during winter months. Automatic switching between mechanical cooling and free cooling allows for optimal performance year round, and there is an added level of redundancy should any mechanical refrigeration components fail in the winter months.

Distinctly different.

Microbreweries are famous for putting their own twist on a standard beer, and Motivair is no different. Due to the nature of their business, von Trapp Brewery required 28°F chilled water temperature, which is lower than what could be achieved from commercial-grade equipment and still operate properly. Motivair was up for the challenge. The low leaving water temperature required a custom design for an industrial chiller with proper refrigerant selection and oil lubrication systems integrated to allow for safe and efficient operation for the life cycle of the chiller.   One of the added benefits of working with Motivair is their ability to design and create optimized performance packages that can tailor Free Cooling output and efficiencies to best suit the customer’s unique needs.

With breweries on the rise, Motivair’s free cooling chillers will continue to be the optimal solution for year-round critical cooling loads for process manufacturing – and brewing.  Cheers!


About Motivair Corporation

Motivair Corporation, based in Buffalo, NY (USA), is a globally recognized supplier of specialty chillers and cooling systems providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, public and private sectors around the world.  For more information, visit www.MotivairCorp.com

About von Trapp Brewery

It was more than a decade ago when Johannes von Trapp started thinking about starting a brewery at his family’s lodge in Stowe, Vermont. He had a dream to brew an American version of the tasty lagers he enjoyed so much during trips to the countryside near his ancestral Austrian home.  With this dream in mind, Johannes worked to start a brewery at Trapp Family Lodge. It became a reality in the spring of 2010, when von Trapp Brewery officially opened. The brewery was originally located in the lower level of the Trapp Family Lodge, and then moved to its new 30,000 sq. ft. brewery on Luce Hill Road in 2015.  The new facility currently brews around 50,000 gallons of lager each year, with brews available year-round and seasonally. For more information, visit www.vontrappbrewing.com

*Source: March 22, 2016. Brewers Association Releases Annual Growth Figures for American Craft Brewers https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/small-independent-brewers-continue-grow-double-digits/