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Focus on Energy helps launch new brewery

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Isaac Showaki is hitting the ground running as he prepares for the Oct. 24 grand opening of his new contract brewing operation in Waunakee. There will be no putting off the installation of the high-efficiency equipment that enhances his chances for success. Focus on Energy and other business resources saw to that.

Octopi Brewing recently completed an 18,000-square-foot production brewery with state-of-the-art brewing equipment and water treatment systems that primarily brew beers for other business entities, not just brewing companies that have either run out of capacity or don’t have adequate facilities.

As Showaki notes, the contract brewery will have three types of clients: existing breweries, startup breweries trying to enter the market, and retail and hospitality chains. But to increase the odds of business success, the brewery recently completed two projects with the help of Focus on Energy’s business incentive program. One involved the installation of LED lighting in a high-bay area, and the other pertains to the purchase of a high-efficiency process boiler.

Octopi Brewing's high-efficiency boiler.

The LED lamps and downlight fixtures will be installed with occupancy sensors instead of incandescent and high-bay linear fluorescent fixtures, bringing an estimated savings of nearly 400,000 lifecycle kilowatt hours. Meanwhile, the installation of a new, efficient steam boiler to serve brewery operations will result in estimated savings of nearly 40,000 lifecycle therms (a therm being a unit of heat energy equal to 100,000 British thermal units, or BTUs).

Many times, Focus on Energy’s business assistance program helps replace antiquated and often energy-wasting equipment with new energy efficient equipment, but the case of Octopi Brewing shows that startups also can get into the sustainability act.

Having seen how substandard equipment limits the effectiveness of other contract brewers, Showaki is especially pleased with the boiler. There were cheaper, less efficient boilers on the market that could do the job, but he wanted a boiler that would last anywhere from 30 to 40 years with good maintenance.

“We didn’t want to spend money on a boiler anytime soon,” he notes. “We asked Focus on Energy if there was any incentive as far as a higher efficiency boiler, and they said yes. They compared the high-efficiency boiler versus a standard boiler and from that they gave us assistance, which helped us go with the better model down the road.”

Showaki, who previously operated a brewery in Chicago, heard about Focus on Energy through Baker Tilly Virchow Kraus, the accounting firm. Other partners in this business launch were Wisconsin Business Development, which helps grow businesses with funding assistance, and the Bank of Sun Prairie. However, Focus on Energy gave him a special peace of mind that Octopi Brewing has a legitimate chance to fulfill its brand promise as a contract brewery.


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