Friday, November 24, 2017

What Happens to the expired Rum, Vodka, Wine and Beer or Soft Drinks That Doesn’t Sell?

Parallel Product against the Rancho Cucamonga Skyline
      There is a place in Rancho Cucamonga, California that turns all of the wastes of the alcohol and soft drink industries into fuel for your automobile.   From a vineyard in Napa, a bottle of red can travel to a five-star restaurant in Manhattan, or a well-heeled dinner party in Tokyo.  But for some unlucky vintages, it's a drive of more than 400 miles south down the coast of California, to Parallel Products, where, in a facility surrounded by scrub brush, scrap heaps and festering waste ponds, a bottle of fermented grape juice can be dumped into modified stills and converted into fuel-grade ethanol.

Huge Stills that Turn Waste into Fuel
     Commercial distilleries have been churning out ethanol as far back as World War II, but ones that turn our waste alcohol into fuel are relatively new.  Those forlorn wines turn east at Los Angeles and head 140 miles more down the San Bernardino Freeway ending up in Rancho Cucamonga, on the outskirts of the suburban sprawl.   This is an area filled with scrub brush, scrap heaps, and festering waste ponds and the end of the line for the cast offs of the beer, spirits and wine industry.

     The Rancho Cucamonga area is filled with car-eating steel separators and monolithic humming electrical towers and fermentation tanks in a junkyard.  This is the very reason for the facility's existence, the last stop in a side of the Alcohol business world that nobody ever thinks much about.   This is the home of Parallel Products, a company that might not manage the trick of turning water into wine, but turns dead alcoholic beverages into fuel-grade ethanol on a large scale. 

     "We destroy some products here that the brands don't want people to know about."   This is a place that no alcoholic producer would ever admit knowing about, but it provides a service that is much needed by the industry.  It is one of two ethanol recovery facilities operated by 30-year-old Parallel Products and where it turns the West Coast's distillery waste and unsellable wine, beer and corn syrup-rich soft drinks into fuel.   

The main products destroyed at Parallel are either waste from the distilling process known as "heads" and "tails" of each batch, this is the part you throw away unless you want to go blind, or "distressed surplus" beverages. According to its website "Each year, Parallel Products receives and recycles over 13 million cases and 3 million bulk liquid gallons of unsaleable beverage products."  Parallel, a place that processes skunked beer, tainted liquors and flat colas into gasoline additives, becomes an attractive option for a perfectly palatable Pinot.  Now you know what happens to a lot of the waste from the production of alcoholic beverages along with the high sugar content products that just didn’t make it into the “glamorous” world of the beverage industry.