How craft brewers promote sustainability – Forbes

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The solar-powered Cooper Island Beach Club uses wastewater to irrigate gardens

Cooper Island Beach Club

Brewing as we know it is not a sustainable practice. According to the University of Vermont, it takes three to seven barrels of water to make a single barrel of beer.

Then consider the energy used in the fermentation process, the gas burned to ship the ingredients across the country, and the waste by-products from canning. When the brewing is finished, there is waste left: undrinkable water and used grain and hops.

The new Belgian Fat Tire made headlines last year when it became the first major brewery to receive climate-neutral certification. The brewery created an open source draft that others should follow along the way. Although the brewery, the fourth largest craft brewer in the country, has made significant investments in meeting global sustainability standards through renewable energy and heat recovery initiatives, not every brewery has access to this type of capital.

So craft brewers are getting creative and implementing unique methods to reduce the consumption of natural resources. Methods include upcycling used water, taking land management initiatives, and recovering carbon dioxide from the fermentation cycle. The planet is benefiting from the advantages, but increasingly also from the consumer: A study from 2018 found that the majority of American beer drinkers would pay more for sustainably produced beer. On average, they would pay around $ 1.30 more per six-pack.

For Colorado's Mountain Tap Brewery, sustainability means buying products from local small malt and hop farmers. “Supporting small local producers increases the viability of Colorado's agribusiness,” says brewmaster Rich Tucciarone. “It also reduces our carbon footprint as the ingredients have to travel far fewer kilometers to reach us.”

He believes that building this local connection benefits the entire community. “Like many brewers, we make our used grain available to a local rancher who feeds it to his pigs,” says Tucciarone. “This keeps the grain out of the landfill and gives it a ‘second life' as feed. A few times a year we buy pork from the rancher and include it on our menu as full circle pork: we brew the beer, we give the rancher the used grain, he feeds his pigs, we buy the pork and finally we serve it to our guests. We supply the ranchers with the grain to cover their feed needs. He does us a service by picking up the grain. We continue to support the local rancher by buying his pork. By then showing it off in our restaurant, we encourage our guests to eat locally grown meat and educate them about the good things that can be created by recycling, which some consider waste. “

Alice Springs Brewing Co is in the heart of the outback, surrounded by miles of orange-red … [+] Sand. Water is a precious commodity here, so reducing water consumption is crucial.

Alice Springs Brewing Co.

Sustainability has been a priority at Mountain Tap since the brewery was founded. “When we were planning the construction of the brewery, Mountain Tap had to start over with all of our mechanical equipment. This enabled us to use highly efficient equipment, including a ventilation system for energy recovery and a Rinnai instantaneous water heater that provides additional water for brewing, ”says Tucciarone.

Sustainable thinking is essential at Alice Springs Brewing Co in Australia. The brewery is located in the heart of the outback, surrounded by miles of orange-red sandy beaches. Water is a precious commodity here, so reducing water consumption is crucial. “We employ various tactics to reclaim wastewater from our brewing processes and are constantly looking for ways to reduce our consumption,” says instigator Kyle Pearson. “We are currently recovering all of our wastewater from our filtering process and using it to irrigate our lawns and gardens.” Wastewater from brewing processes is used to clean equipment. “We also hold and store all of our wastewater from our brewery sinks and floor drains in holding tanks, where we perform settling and chemical analysis to ensure that the amount of solids and chemicals in our local wastewater system is minimized.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Argentina's Antares lies on the shores of the South Atlantic. Water is abundant here. But salt water is difficult to brew. Due to the water crisis on the planet, the brewery recently launched a new Atlántica beer – the first beer in Argentina to be made from seawater. Crazy Dingo Brewing in Florida uses groundwater from an aquifer below the brewery farm. The water is purified from coconut shells using carbon filters.

Water waste remains one of the biggest hurdles for brewers. Wastewater treatments range from small – the solar-powered Cooper Island Beach Club uses wastewater to irrigate gardens – to massive ones: The Village Brewery in Calgary (in collaboration with researchers from the University of Calgary) makes beer from municipal wastewater.

Partially treated municipal wastewater goes through a purification system that includes ultrafiltration, advanced oxidation, ultraviolet light, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. Eventually, the city's liquid discards turn into crispy golden ales. Alberta health services are reviewing the reused water to make sure it meets drinking standards, but there are still mental hurdles. Chief brewer Jeremy McLaughlin cited “mental hurdles to overcome how gross this is by nature”. in an interview with the CBC.

Alternative water treatments and such antidotes act like a glimmer of hope as the planet's freshwater supply continues to decline.

Alice Springs Brewing Co's Pearson notes that initiatives like these are vital in determining how our practices will affect future generations. “We recently installed a 50 kW solar panel system that covers around 80% of our electricity needs and provides almost all of the electricity we use to make beer. All of our grain, yeast and hops waste products are picked by local farmers and farmers and used for fodder or composting. Sometimes we even use stale grain in our kitchen to make food for our restaurant – stout brownie, anyone ?! “

Shifting a brewery towards sustainability may seem like a daunting (and expensive) feat, but there are small steps distilleries can take to reduce their environmental footprint. Sustainable ingredients that are either locally sourced or grown without pesticides; Solar Panels – The Rural Energy for America (REAP) program provides grants for small businesses looking to move to renewable energy. and get political and urge local and federal governments to incentivize sustained efforts.

Beerburg's yarrow Berliner Weisse is part of their #Wildcraft series. It's made without hops … [+] Instead, use yarrow, a traditional brewing ingredient.

BeerBurg in the Texas Hill country uses the philosophy of land management to drive the brewery forward. Your brewer Trevor underwent a nine month herbalism program to help him understand plant identification, proper ethical harvesting, and the use of native plants in the brewing partnership while maintaining a positive relationship with the land on which the distillery is located. There is also an apiary on site, which is surrounded by a rainwater collection tank and a whitewater station. The bees pollinate wildflower fields and permaculture gardens.

The Avling Brewery in Toronto grows botanicals in their 4,000 square meter roof garden on top of the brewery and illuminates lesser-known Canadian ingredients from the region with their beers. Plants are selected based on local ecological biodiversity, with an emphasis on attractive native pollinators. They also host a farmers market and hands-on gardening workshops. 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida urges all vendors they work with to adhere to the brewery's sustainability guidelines to ensure vendors measure and minimize the footprint of their operations and products by providing transportation, packaging, waste, Energy, toxicity, water, and greenhouse gas emissions. Alaskan Brewing Company has used a CO2 recovery program to purify the CO2 used in production for over 20 years.

Measures big or small: “The most important thing for us is that we make a sustainability effort and continue to strive to improve as we get bigger and better in the future,” says Pearson. “As brewers, business owners and parents, it is important to us to ensure the sustainability of our planet for future generations.”


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