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Mallorytown, Ont., craft beer brewery operating on solar power

A small craft beer brewery in Mallorytown, Ont., has combined the owner’s love of science and beer.

mallorytown ont craft beer brewery operating on solar power

“I’m a bit of a science geek,” said the owner of Arbru, Phil Audet.

A graduate of St. Lawrence College, Audet has taken his passion for science and beer to another level.

Last July, Audet and his business partner opened their own craft brewery. The entire operation is powered by solar energy.

Read more: Kingston, Ont. brewery harnessing carbon capture technology

“I wanted to open a craft brewery for a number of years, and wanted to do something different and combine my passion for beer and solar together, and that became of Arbru,” said Audet.

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Behind the facility are two large solar panels, which are connected to battery banks on the walls inside. Everything from the lights, to the fridges and the sound equipment are all powered by the flaming ball in the sky.

Audet has full control over the lights and other electronics from the touch of a button on his phone. He said it took a long time for the idea to come to fruition, but he’s proud of being self-sufficient.

“It’s very empowering to know that we’re able to produce our own power. What I tell people is that we’re kind of on an island right now, in the sense that we don’t have a connection to the grid, we’re kind of isolated,” he added.

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While Audet is the brain behind the solar, his business partner Stacie Stephenson has been working on different ways to add to the uniqueness of the business.

“We usually turn to the customer to ask them what are they looking for, what kind of fun event or customer experience do they want to have,” she said.

Open mic nights, special outdoor dome dining, and even a recently sold out drag show are just some of the things they’ve used to set themselves apart. But while things are going well, it hasn’t been without challenges.

Read more: Nova Scotia’s solar industry continues to soar at a record pace

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“The hardest part about operating Arbru is operating during the wintertime. As you can imagine, it’s pretty dark outside, the days are short, there’s less sun hours. The way we do it is we just manage power very, very effectively,” said Audet.

With the brewery’s one-year anniversary on the horizon, Audet and Stephenson said they’re ready for the warmer weather.

“Now we’re gearing up for a new summer experience. Something, of course, that will be outdoors, or on the patio,” she said.

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