PPL Electric Utilities and America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling, have grown together over last century.

When you’re America’s oldest brewery and you churn out 2.5 million barrels of beer every year, reliable and efficient delivery of electricity is crucial, to say the least.

It’s why Schuylkill County-based Yuengling’s relationship with PPL Electric Utilities is so important.

As PPL celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020, Yuengling is coming off a 2019 in which it celebrated being in operation for 190 years, many of which were powered by PPL.

And the two companies are looking forward to many more successful years to come.

Having reliable power at an operation like Yuengling is “extremely important,” said Jen Yuengling, vice president of operations at D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. “I think it’s been a very cooperative relationship we’ve had with PPL.”

Jen Yuengling is vice president of operations at D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. A brewery that has been in her family for generations.

Jen Yuengling and PPL Key Account Manager Shannon Nagy discuss energy efficiency opportunities in the Pottsville-based Yuengling brewery.

“When there are energy or energy efficiency savings opportunities, the folks at PPL have the ability to work with our people and talk through scenarios and situations that make sense for us as a company.”

That’s a role Shannon Nagy, a PPL Electric Utilities key account manager, serves proudly. She and others on her team work closely with businesses to make sure their service is as reliable and efficient as possible.

Key account managers keep their customers apprised of any service-related issues and provide guidance to them on how they can make their operations more energy efficient and qualify for energy efficiency rebates.

With help from PPL Electric Utilities, Yuengling has adopted newer energy-saving technology to not only make its business more efficient but cost effective too.

“We’re here as a dedicated resource for all aspects related to their service, from billing to reliability to service projects and everything in between,” Nagy said. “We also serve as the customer liaison to the many internal PPL groups that work in the background to support on all service aspects.”

Jen Yuengling is the sixth generation of family members to run Yuengling, which has two breweries in Pottsville and one in Florida. And like PPL, the brewer has withstood the test of time by being innovative and efficient.

A view of Yuengling’s restored dairy building that serves as a hospitality area for visitors and houses it’s wastewater pretreatment system, which is powered by an energy efficient combined heat and power system.

In 2017, PPL Electric awarded an almost $44,000 energy efficiency rebate to D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. for the installation of a combined heat and power system in Yuengling’s historic dairy building, which is part of its Pottsville campus. Yuengling is one of about 680,000 PPL Electric customers to have participated in energy efficiency programs as of May 31, 2019. Total rebates paid out though the program reached $250.6 million.

Yuengling’s restored dairy building houses the company’s wastewater pretreatment system, as well as its new gift shop, museum and hospitality area. The project has helped Yuengling reduce its electricity usage by about 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year, or the equivalent of a year’s worth of the combined electricity use of 181 homes.

The CHP project at the Pottsville facility has allowed Yuengling to operate its gift shop/museum and pretreatment plant, which significantly reduced its need for building heat and process heat in these areas.

As the name suggests, combined heat and power projects use a single source of energy to produce both electricity and useful heat. Here’s a simple guide to how Yuengling’s system works, from the company’s website:

  • Yuengling captures methane from its brewing wastewater pretreatment process.
  • The methane, in addition to purchased natural gas, fuels the combined heat and power system.
  • The heat is used to preheat wastewater at the wastewater treatment plant and to heat the museum and gift shop.
  • The electricity is used for the brewing operations.

 

“Between 10 and 20 percent of the Pottsville brewery’s electricity needs are offset by the electricity generated by the combined heat and power system,” said Bob Seaman, a manager of Yuengling’s Mill Creek plant.

Yuengling’s use of combined heat and power is leading sustainability technology within the craft brewing industry. Yuengling also has combined heat and power at its Millcreek brewery in Pottsville and its Tampa, Florida, brewery.

Yuengling also has purchased LED lighting through PPL’s Distributor Instant Discount program for various locations throughout its Mill Creek brewery, contributing to the brewery’s cost savings.

John Kucher, manager-Business Services for PPL Electric Utilities, said his group has a single priority with the business community:

“We spend a lot of time building relationships,” Kucher said. “In many ways we consider these companies partners and we want them to continue thriving because that benefits the communities we serve. We’re proud of that work we do, and we’ll continue to do it for the next 100 years.”