Brewing and Distilling - Market Sectors - Star Refrigeration

Brewing and Distilling

Refrigeration is the innovation which first allowed beer and brewed drinks to be produced all year round, and always at the same temperature. Having total control over temperatures throughout a brewery or distillery is vital for the preservation of quality and flavour, as many of our customers would testify to.

Since 1970, Star have been helping our favourite drinks age with attitude by producing bespoke cooling systems for the brewing and malting industries, and, more recently, competitive modular standard packages. Both solutions are specifically designed for the beverage sector to enhance overall operating efficiency and reliability.

With ammonia and CO2 refrigeration at the core of our expertise, we are able to help in meeting your sustainability targets with low carbon futureproof solutions.


Rob Lamb

Group Sales & Marketing Director

Related Case Studies

  • BrewDog

    Star Refrigeration installs future-proof CO2 Refrigeration solution for first fully-refrigerated beer warehouse in Europe

    Star Refrigeration successfully delivered an eco-friendly CO2 refrigeration solution for a new cold storage and distribution centre at BrewDog’s recently purchased Eurocentral warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland. Star were awarded the contract after presenting the energy efficient, cost effective cooling solution to BrewDog amongst a range of bidders.

    BrewDog is a multinational craft beer company founded in Aberdeenshire in 2007. As one of the fastest growing beverage brands in the world, the Scottish brewer is constantly expanding and required a refrigerated space to store and chill their evolving range of boldly flavoured craft beers, from which to distribute to supermarkets, stores, pubs and outlets across the world. With that ambition in mind, the company purchased an 80,000m3 warehouse at the Eurocentral complex which offers unrivalled access to Scotland’s central road network.

    Having acquired the new warehouse to use as a distribution centre, BrewDog commissioned Star to deliver a brand-new plant capable of chilling to +5oC at a price that was cost-effective for the company. BrewDog also specified the use of natural refrigerants to avoid harmful F-gas solutions, thus safeguarding the site against future regulations and enhancing its overall safety and environmental credentials.

    Star was responsible for every aspect of the plant’s development from the design and supply, through to installation and commissioning. Given the proximity of Star’s branch in Bellshill just five miles away, the company was uniquely positioned to rapidly respond to BrewDog’s requirements and queries at all times.

    BrewDog are already familiar with Star Refrigeration after the company enlisted the help of Star Technical Solutions (STS) back in 2017. Star consultants determined the brewery’s current refrigeration load and spare capacity ahead of increasing production with the construction of a new £20m brewery in Ellon.  Euan Duncan, Technical sales engineer at Star Refrigeration, said, “We’re delighted to be working with BrewDog once again. Through the successful delivery of Europe’s first fully refrigerated beer warehouse, we’ve demonstrated how Star are committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the refrigeration industry and helping our customers take their business to the next level.”

    The CO2 Refrigeration Solution

    Star’s proposal was based on the use of a direct expansion CO2 refrigeration system in conjunction with six off-air coolers within the chamber. The CO2 plant is designed for a duty of 480KW based upon a chamber temperature of +50C and a design ambient temperature of +300C.

    The CO2 refrigeration package is a standalone system located on the exterior of the building and connected to the coolers via pipework. It includes reciprocating compressors, an air-cooled gas cooler with variable speed fans, an interstage vessel, subcooler and electrical panel with PLC controller. Liquid CO2 from the package is supplied to coolers within the warehouse where it evaporates, removing the heat from the room, before returning to the pack as vapour. The use of CO2 means that smaller pipework can be used to distribute cooler around the facility, helping to save installation and steelwork costs.

    The pipework was fully insulated to Star’s standard specifications and feeds each of the six air coolers, which are controlled by a panel located in the adjacent ambient area. The air cooler casework has a galvanised steel finish and honeycomb air straighteners have been designed with a five degrees angle upwards, to achieve the necessary air throw and make full use of the beneficial attributes of the Vortex building.

    The advantages

    CO2 was deemed safer and more cost effective at this particular site and application. It is already present in our atmosphere and it is futureproofed against the f-gas environmental legislation. Also, itdoes not carry the hazards linked to other refrigerants such as ammonia and can directly cool the building without the addition of a secondary fluid such as glycol, which would have required a lower evaporating temperature, thus reducing efficiency.

    The reduced dimensions of the equipment involved and the lightweight nature of the coolers and pipework meant that the CO2 plant was significantly lighter and less intrusive than alternative solutions. Given the building’s structural restrictions, the limited weight impact proved to be a key USP in the eyes of BrewDog.

    Overall, Star’s solution translated into financial savings as the chosen setup resulted in a price per watt of just one pound, or around a 30% cost reduction in comparison to a traditional ammonia glycol system.

    The Outcome

    The successful design, supply, installation and commissioning of the plant offers BrewDog the capability to take full control of their beer’s temperature controlled storage and distribution, allowing them to service the craft beer industry in a manner not currently being offered by their rivals. With the plant now able to maintain optimum temperatures within the distribution centre, BrewDog’s craft beer will be delivered to the consumer without losing quality or flavour.

    Niall Murphie, Engineering Manager at BrewDog, said, “Star Refrigeration delivered an energy efficient, financially viable and environmental responsible solution. This allow us to remain uniquely placed to serve the needs of beer lovers all over the country and beyond, helping to spread our passion for craft beer to every corner of the globe”.









  • Thwaites Brewery

    Star Refrigeration has recently completed a project to boost capacity and reduce energy costs for Blackburn based brewer, Daniel Thwaites.

    Following previous successful projects replacing heat exchangers and separator vessels, Star replaced an existing reciprocating compressor and added additional plate heat exchanger cassettes to a modular cooling plant. This increased capacity from 310kW to 400k and reduced weekly running costs. This nett effect is a return on investment of less than 18 months.

    This improvement in efficiency comes from a combination of using an inverter controlled reciprocating compressor in place of the original fixed speed machine and installation on a new compressor sequencing system.

    A comparison of fixed speed and variable speed replacement options at the tender stage demonstrated the benefits of using a variable frequency drive (see graph 1). Daniel Thwaites recognised the operating cost benefits from investing in the variable speed option and these have been realised on site following successful plant installation and comparison.

    Further enhancement of performance has been achieved through the installation of a new compressor sequencing controller. This measures the secondary IMS cooling medium temperature and sequences starting/stopping of the new inverter driven compressor and two existing fixed speed machines.

    Power measure on site demonstrates average weekly savings of around £2,000 on site electricity costs (see graph 2) following installation of the new compressor and sequencer. This results in a payback of less than 18 months based on current energy cost.

    "The replacement of our ammonia compressor had the potential to cause issues with production from both a temperature and logistics perspective. The thorough and detailed project management carried out by Star meant that neither of these became and issue. Star’s attention to detail continued through the commissioning stage, right up to running in of the unit during the initial 3 months. Customer queries were dealt with quickly and advice on efficient operation has been essential to reducing our electricity costs, which have been greater than anticipated," - Thwaites Projects and Utilities Manager, Mick Cockshott.

    The Daniel Thwaites installation is just one example of energy enhancing solutions from Star Refrigeration. Others include:

    • Azanechiller - Air and water cooled high efficiency packaged chillers.
    • Aether – Condenser and pump inverter controller.

    For more information and to arrange a site visit:

    • Contact our sales team at
    • Contact your local branch office.

  • Guinness Brewery Dublin

    Cooling specialist Star Refrigeration has completed a major project for RWE Solutions at Diageo’s Guinness production plant in Ireland.

    Diageo, the global leader in premium drinks, was looking to increase production of its world famous Guinness stout at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. The company wanted to boost the production capacity of its brewing process plant and associated utility equipment to the equivalent of 12 million kegs per annum.

    A significant increase in refrigeration plant capacity was critical to the success of the scheme. It was essential that the upgrade of existing plant and additional refrigeration capacity required was achieved within a six-month programme of work, with minimal disruption to production.

    Star was contracted by RWE Solutions for the design and installation of a new industrial refrigeration system for the Guinness plant. RWE Solutions is the energy services company which owns, operates and maintains all utilities equipment at the Dublin facility, including refrigeration, under a fifteen year contract.

    Star’s engineering team worked with RWE Solutions to conduct an extensive evaluation of the existing ammonia refrigeration plant and associated glycol system. The solution was to design and install 3.5MW of additional refrigeration capacity to work in conjunction with the existing plant. It was vital that the extended and upgraded plant operated with enhanced efficiency and environmental benefits.

    The refrigeration plant upgrade was completed on time and on budget. The plant provides a total of 8.9MW of refrigeration capacity at an overall evaporating temperature of -4.5°C. This increase in refrigeration capacity has been achieved without adding a significant increase in refrigerant charge. As well as providing an environmentally friendly solution, the new refrigeration system was designed to enhance overall operating efficiency and reliability.

    Star’s project and site management team worked closely with RWE Solutions and Diageo to ensure that installation and commissioning work were programmed to prevent disruption to the brewing process. Careful planning enabled the duration of four programmed shut downs to be reduced from two days to twelve hours. This enabled production to be maintained throughout the project.

    Star Refrigeration’s Managing Director Andy Pearson says: “The Guinness project demonstrates Star’s strength in applying best practice and new thinking to create a first class installation. Our engineering team worked in close partnership with RWE Solutions to improve and optimise a traditional refrigeration system with a high level of technical innovation. We were also able to ensure major site works were expertly managed and completed without disruption to production.”

    The new refrigeration plant comprises two Star compressor package units with twin-screw compressors and high efficiency drive motors. A new surge drum and two gravity fed plate heat exchanger evaporators were also installed to work alongside four existing shell and tube evaporators. Existing evaporator glycol pumps were augmented with three additional pumps complete with variable speed drives, to pump glycol through the plate heat exchangers. Extra condensing capacity is provided by an additional evaporative condenser.

    Star also introduced a new computerised control system to optimise plant operation and ensure accurate temperature control. The Telstar PLC system is integrated with the plant’s existing control system and is designed to improve system management, reliability and efficiency.

    On completion of the Guinness project, Star conducted comprehensive on site training for RWE Solutions’ engineering staff and advised on safety management procedures. Star will provide specialist refrigeration plant maintenance services on site to RWE Solutions as required in the future.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.