VB has a hard earned thirst for solar PV


Just before knock-off on Friday afternoon Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) announced that in 2020 the iconic Victoria Bitter (VB) will be brewed with 100% offset solar electricity. I’ll drink to that.

The shift to solar is being made under a 12-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the 112 MW Karadoc Solar Farm in Mildura, owned by German solar developer BayWa r.e.

“The renewable electricity will power the brewing of more than a hundred million litres of Victoria Bitter, satisfying the hard earned thirsts of Australian beer drinkers all over the country,” said the company in a statement.

Additionally, VB will install solar panels atop its iconic Abbotsford Brewery in Melbourne and Queensland’s Yatala Brewery.

“Australia’s most iconic beer will soon be one of the most sustainable too,” said Chris Maxwell, Victoria Bitter’s Marketing Director, “For over 165 years we’ve been satisfying the hard earned thirsts of hard-working Australians who have had the sun beating down on their backs. Now we’re going to get the sun working for us. As a brand that is manufactured in Australia, we need to do our bit for the environment to ensure we can continue brewing for centuries to come.”

The marketing might’ve seemed to have the timing of a Steve Smith cover drive, but VB nearly cost themselves vital runs in by posting nebulously on its Facebook page a day previously, “Things are changing at VB”, is all the post said. The post unnerved many VB drinkers who thought the company might’ve been altering the classic brew as it disastrously attempted to do several years ago.

Thankfully, the classic Aussie larger remains unchanged except that from 2020 it will be brewed entirely by clean green energy harnessed through solar PV, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase: “Getting on the Green Grenades.”

“We ruffled a few feathers with our statement claiming that Victoria Bitter is changing, but it’s all for the better,” said Maxwell, “we’re not changing anything about the beer itself. The taste, the alcohol content, the ingredients and the way we brew will all remain the same. We’re simply enlisting the Australian sun to help make our VB. So, the next time the sun is making you hot, just remember it’ll also be making you a cold one.”

The timing was similarly awkward in that on Friday the Australian Energy market Operator (AEMO) announced that it was reducing the permitted output of five solar farms in Victoria and New South Wales, including the Karadoc Solar Farm from which VB will draw its solar energy. The radical curtailment by AEMO is in response to voltage fluctuations and system strength issues. Calls by pv magazine to AEMO have not been able to ascertain when the curtailment will be lifted.

However, the hiccup did little to dampen VB’s solar celebrations with the brewer releasing one of its typically iconic ad campaigns. The announcement came in anticipation of the upcoming footy finals and ensures that all the liquid enjoyment of the upcoming summer of cricket will be solar supplied.

It can come at any time, you’re writing the news, or wiping your brow, matter of fact, I’ve got it now. A hard earned thirst deserves a big cold beer, and the best cold beer is made with solar PV.


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