When perched on a bar stool in your favorite local watering hole, you may not be thinking of the carbon footprint of the pint before you. But maybe you should!
Familiarize yourself with these five standout breweries doing their part to build a sustainable future.
New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, CO, has long been a favorite of ours, especially Fat Tire and the seasonal Somersault. These tasty brews are crafted with sustainability in mind. The company publishes a Sustainability Report with updates on its progress in environmental stewardship.
New Belgium takes a holistic approach that considers everything from water intensity and waste diversion to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. From a closed-loop, power generation system fed by waste water to an array of photovoltaic panels that generate electricity, this cycling-centric company is working on all fronts to make greener beer and cultivate a healthier community.
Conservation and green energy sourcing rank high on Odell’s sustainability checklist. This brewery, also in Fort Collins, invested heavily in alternative energy and energy efficiency – with delightful results.
Solar panels generate approximately 5% of the brewery’s overall power demand, while wind power development purchased through its electricity supplier takes care of the rest. Odell even uses biodiesel-powered delivery trucks and has a free electric car plug-in station for patrons.
Solar tubes and compact T5 and T8 fluorescent bulbs light the brewery and offices. The brewery has plans to reuse CO2 from fermentation, audit electricity and water usage in each location and reuse rinsing water for irrigation.
This Grand Rapids, MI, operation was the first commercial microbrewery in the U.S. to be LEED certified, but Brewery Vivant doesn’t end its sustainability mission there. In 2016, the brewery reported 66.4% of purchases were paid to businesses owned and operated within 250 miles, with 63.1% of all purchases having been made within Michigan.
Brewery Vivant also donates its spent grain to feed cattle at a local ranch and gives 1% of its profits to local charities. On the energy front, Brewery Vivant installed a solar panel array in 2016 that provides 6.5% of the company’s energy.
Magic Hat Brewing Co. in South Burlington, VT, is one wild place. Magic Hat’s imaginative culture oozes from every corner as you tour this brewery and sample imperial brews from the Humdinger seasonal series or year-round staples such as #9 or Circus Boy.
However, wacky as this brewery is, its creativity is not bound by bottles. To bring its company motto (saving the Earth, one beer at a time) to life, Magic Hat encourages many green initiatives. Magic Hat takes advantage of Vermont’s chilly winter climate and uses outside winter air to supplement its cooler and save on energy. Magic Hat Brewery also found ways to reuse rinse water and eliminate the need for harsh chemicals when it comes to keeping its fermentation tanks sparklingly clean.
Sierra Nevada, in Chico, CA, doesn’t kid around when it comes to greening its brewery. Its efforts have been recognized on the state level since 2005. Currently, solar panels supply 20% of its energy needs and hydrogen fuel cells supply another 40%. Conserving energy through efficiency measures is another top priority at Sierra Nevada.
It also reuses, recycles or composts more than 99% of its solid waste and has restructured its packaging system for optimal efficiency and green return. The brewery even recycles CO2 for carbonation back into the brewery instead of purchasing CO2 and shipping it. Sierra Nevada has also begun environmental efforts like reforestation in North Carolina to give back to the Earth.