5 of the Most Sustainable Craft Breweries in the Country
St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the only day out of the year when you can get a green beer.
In fact, more and more breweries across the country are going green with their beer – but not the kind you’re used to seeing every March 17.
The process of making beer requires a lot of energy and a lot of water, and craft brewers all over are pouring their efforts into cutting their carbon footprint.
From eco-friendly packaging to reducing water consumption, learn how these five craft breweries are killing it in sustainability.
Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)
Ever since it loaded its first cases of beers through the doors in 1991, Brooklyn Brewery has been doing its part to better the environment.
At first, their efforts centered around recycling and upcycling old pallets at their Williamsburg distribution center. But that was just the beginning for Brooklyn Brewery, which has been practicing sustainability ever since. Check out some of the highlights below:
- 1996: The Williamsburg facility was fitted with heat exchange systems to reduce energy demand during the brewing process.
- 2012: Integrated steam reclamation to capture energy from the brew kettle and use it to heat the hot water tank.
- 2016: Partnered with Arbor Day Foundation to offset 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide with approximately 375 acres’ worth of carbon dioxide-converting trees planted in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Brooklyn Brewery’s contribution offset the carbon released by the electricity and natural gas needed to produce 126,000 cases of 12-ounce bottles and 76,000 half-barrel kegs each year.
Whether in regard to their facilities or the beer itself, Brooklyn Brewery has always had high standards when it comes to sustainability.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Cleveland, OH)
Great Lakes Brewing Co. has always aspired to craft its beers in the most socially and environmentally responsible way possible. At its Pint Size Farm in Bath, Ohio, the company produces high-quality, organic produce that is used seasonally in its brewpub.
The brewpub features solar thermal panels and an energy-efficient boiler that heats water for brewing and restaurant use.
New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO)
Even prior to selling its first bottle, New Belgium Brewing strove to be environmental stewards. To say they’re achieving their goal would be an understatement. In 2016, the company earned a platinum certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) for its effort in reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
In its 2016 sustainability report, New Belgium Brewing successfully diverted 99.8 percent of its waste from landfills. Most of the waste, 98.09 percent of it, is spent grain that is sent to local farmers. The rest is broken down as follows: recycling (1.68 percent), landfill (0.21 percent) and compost (0.02 percent).
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Fletcher, NC)
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. established itself on the business model of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” It has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for its commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
In 2013, the company saved more than $5 million by diverting nearly 100 percent of its waste. Furthermore, its brewery in Chico, California is home to one of the biggest privately-owned solar arrays in the country. It features more than 10,000 panels that produce two megawatts of power, which is enough to meet 20 percent of the brewery’s energy needs.
Ska Brewing Co. (Durango, CO)
Just how sustainable is Ska Brewing? Consider this:
The insulation at their brewery is made out of old jeans. And creative reuse is just one of the many ways it practices sustainability. The company also uses environmentally-friendly aluminum cans and recycled packaging materials, as well as wind and solar power at its facility. Customers can even recycle their six-pack containers at the brewery in exchange for more beer.
Thirsty yet? If you know of any more craft breweries excelling in sustainability, let us know in the comments below! For more eco-friendly resources, check out our blog’s Sustainability section.