LEDBURY Real Ales is continuing its drive towards sustainability by installing solar panels.

Here Ant Stevens, Ledbury Real Ales owner explains how the company puts sustainability at the heart of its operations:

Ledbury Real Ales is an independent family run local business. Brewing started in 2012 and over the past 12 years the brewery has grown from producing 250 pints a week to now supplying over 5,000 pints of real ale every week to over 30 local pubs where the beers are a permanent fixture on the bar.

The brewery is based in the heart of the hop growing county of Herefordshire.

This has allowed us to focus a lot of our time and effort to work with local hop farmers and Charles Faram, the Malvern based hop merchant, to ensure that the local supply of hops, a main ingredient in real ales, can be supplied by local farmers rather than imported from further afield.

Ledbury Real Ales runs two programmes that assist local farmers to work out which hops to take forward into large scale production. These are Green Hop beers, only brewed during the hop harvest and the Hop Development programme, using brand new hops. The outcome of these programmes mean that less hops need to be brought in from abroad so protecting our local farmers and reducing the food miles on the beer we drink.

The brewery has always wanted to be able to generate all its own energy needs. Previously it had 14 KW of solar capacity but this week, following a large investment into the brewery, a further 12 KW of solar PV and battery storage went live. The additional investment will allow the brewery to not just reduce its dependency on high energy prices, but to create more green energy so reducing the carbon footprint of the brewery.

To continue to improve their environmental credentials later in the year Ledbury Real Ales will look to start a new reed bed development that will assist with the waste water produced, as well as planting a new mixed variety ‘wee’ forest, which over time will not just capture CO2 but also add to the biodiversity of our local environment.