CUMBERLAND — The 1812 Brewery will serve beer brewed by solar energy after two large arrays were installed on the property.
Cory McCagh, the brewery manager, said the switch was flipped on Monday to activate the solar panel system, which can power the entire brewery operation.
“We’re excited about it,” McCagh said. “We’ve been interested in trying to be as green as we can and this is another part. Everything we are using electricity for it will power.”
The brewery, located on Mason Road, is celebrating its four-year anniversary. It was the first farm-brewery operation to open in Allegany County.
The solar system was installed by Mountain View Solar of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The large system features two arrays, each larger than an outdoor movie screen. The arrays contain four rows of 15 4-by-6 foot solar panels.
“It’s really great to see the system helping the business,” said Danny Chiotos, sales director for Mountain View Solar. “From everything we have seen, it is the first 100% on-site solar brewery in the state. It’s something people can remember: solar-powered beer.”
The idea began when Cory’s father, the late Dr. Sean McCagh, reached out to Mountain View Solar about installing a solar system for the business.
“Bob Metz at Metz Electric introduced me to Sean,” said Chiotos. “I told Sean about our business and he reached out to us. That’s how it started. Many times you see a parent who wants to make good things happen.
“We were able to show the savings and tax and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grant incentives available. It was a no-brainer. It made financial sense and we are proud to be working with the McCaghs to do it.”
Chiotos said the total installation took about two months.
“We faced the panels south to generate the most electricity. Now, every time the sun rises the brewery is generating its own electricity,” said Chiotos.
“The electricity is delivered to the brewery to run operation and anything left over is sent out to the grid and the brewery gets a credit on their electric bill,” Chiotos said. “The brewery will remain attached to the traditional electric system which can help during periods of cloudy days. It’s about providing predictability and savings on your electric bill. Energy costs are not getting cheaper.”
McCagh said he recycles and choses green alternatives whenever possible. He said his parents’ farm, Irish Willows, contributes to the cycle.
“When we started as a hops farm, we were taking manure from my parents’ farm and using it for fertilizer,” said McCagh. “Now after we got brewing, we bring all the spent greens, the malts, to the cattle and they love it. They get excited when they hear the tractor coming. That again creates manure, which increases more fertilizer.”
The process has allowed the McCaghs to sell frozen meat cuts at the brewery.
“We have different frozen cuts, Delmonico, ground beef, brisket all of the cuts of the cow. We sell them in the tap room. People care where their food is coming from. We started doing it last year.
“We do the process of recycling as much as we can and not let stuff go to waste. We see it as an important thing to keep an eye on.”