Schilling Hard Cider Rolls Out Industry's First Fully Electric Vehicle Fleet Setting New Standard for Sustainability

21 April 2023

Schilling Hard Cider, the second-largest hard cider producer in the U.S., is electrifying its sales force with the roll-out of eight custom-branded 2023 Chevy Bolt EVs. Schilling Cider is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. Its first carbon inventory was completed in 2021, and the company will continue to conduct carbon inventories annually and set carbon reduction goals. Switching to all-electric cars is a top priority, and the company's new fleet will significantly reduce its carbon emissions.

With Schilling's new EV fleet estimated to travel 100,000 miles annually, they forecast carbon emissions savings of 33.4 metric tons annually. The EV fleet will also help eliminate other emissions associated with traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. This move will not only reduce emissions but also help in reducing noise pollution in residential areas, as electric motors run more quietly than gasoline engines. Schilling Cider hopes that their efforts in sustainability will inspire other businesses to electrify their fleets and take steps towards more sustainable business practices.

The first eight vehicles will roll out of the company's Pacific Northwest headquarters just ahead of Earth Day, with more EVs to be added in the future. Schilling Cider will not purchase any fossil-fueled vehicles moving forward and does not have any in its fleet, making it the first in the industry to make such a commitment.

The EV fleet rollout exemplifies Schilling's commitment to sustainable practices and aligns with Schilling's annual carbon inventories and greenhouse gas reduction goals. This is one of many projects in the works to achieve its carbon reduction goals.

The company's Co-Founder & CEO Colin Schilling stated, "We are committed to leading our industry forward to a more sustainable future. Our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and our environmental impact with electric cars makes sense because clean energy solutions are the path forward if we want to mitigate the effects of climate change and put our planet in a better place for future generations. While we've implemented many carbon-reducing initiatives that are now industry standards, there's more to do."

To reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Schilling Cider has not shied away from investing in state-of-the-art upgrades to its production facility. While extremely costly, these new technologies are substantially more energy efficient than typical industry practices. Examples include:

  • In 2013, Schilling took a significant leap as the first cidery in the U.S. to transition from bottles to cans which are significantly better for the environment. As cited in the case study from Elliot Maltz Ph.D, "For every pound of aluminum cans recycled—90% of the aluminum can be put back into the can supply chain." Since Schilling committed 100% to cans, there's been a marked progression away from glass within the industry.
  • Schilling uses printed cans only rather than wraps or stickers, which are only recyclable when consumers remove the label by hand. The cidery's packaging is 100% recyclable – from the cartons to the shrink wrap and pallets. Wrapped and stickered cans are a major sustainability issue, causing cans to be diverted into the landfill or leading to 15lbs of plastic per pallet of wrapped cans being burned off into the atmosphere during the melting step of recycling.
  • Schilling built a proprietary canning line with variable frequency drive motors, an expensive upgrade, and an industry first for Hard Cider. This technology allows the canning process to operate at different speeds, making it much more energy efficient than typical on-or-off machines.
  • The cidery uses a state-of-the-art tunnel pasteurizing process with heat zone regeneration which recoups energy and is 85-90% more efficient.
  • As part of a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) grant, Schilling installed the first (and only) custom-built CO2-to-glycol heat exchanger that uses heat from fermentation to gasify liquid CO2 rather than electricity, resulting in huge energy savings.
  • Schilling has offered free level 2 EV charging to employees at its HQ since 2021.
  • During production, carbonation is added immediately before packaging. This highly efficient process reduces up to 50% of the CO2 typically released with traditional tank carbonation.

As an industry leader, Schilling Cider believes shifting norms and creating a sustainable business model is the key to inspiring broader change. Co-founder Colin Schilling is committed to running Schilling – from orchard to can – as sustainably as possible while continuously seeking new and innovative ways to improve Schilling Cider's practices. This includes conducting annual carbon inventories, setting reduction goals, and exploring facility upgrades to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.