These breweries brew awesome beer, but do it very sustainably.
I’ll get to the list, but I find it interesting that Fremont Brewing was not included. Don’t get me wrong this list is great, but Fremont is REALLY sustainable. Learn more about them by reading our interview with the owner of Fremont Brewing! From Fremont’s website:
We invest the equivalent of 60% of our energy in renewable energy sources by participating in Seattle City Light’s Green Up program at the PLATINUM level.
We filter our gray water and separate our solids from the liquid waste so that when it enters the county drainage system it is already pretty darn clean, which reduces the amount of solids that go into Lake Union. The solids we collect are added to our spent grain, which is fed to local cows. In 2014, we will donate 1,500,000 pounds of spent grain to the local farm community.
We heat the water going into our brewhouse with on-site generated steam instead of natural gas which is much more efficient and cuts down on a major contributor to climate change. Steam powers our boil kettles, and excess steam is captured and redirected into the system.
CARBON FOOTPRINT OFFSET
We mitigate our carbon footprint by participating in Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program which provides money to plant and maintain trees used for forest and natural area restoration in cities and rural lands throughout Western Washington.
YES WE CAN
The vast majority of our packaged beer is canned. Cans contain more recycled material than glass (80% vs 5%) and weigh a fraction of glass so that their transportation to and from the brewery produces less carbon emissions. Plus, they preserve the beer better and cost much less. It’s Better In The Can.
We are sourcing a scalable CO2 recapture system for our fermentation process. Currently, the market does not provide an option for small to medium sized craft breweries like us but we continue to talk about our need far and wide…who knows, you could be the one to break this nascent market open!
But, back to the actual list according to Business Insider.
FULL SAIL BREWING, HOOD RIVER, OREGON
While most breweries use 6 to 8 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of beer, Full Sail Brewing has knocked their usage to only 2.5 meaning they’re conserving up to 4.1 million gallons of water a year. They are also very proud of the fact that their brews are made from only four natural ingredients; water, malt, hops and yeast. That means no additives, artificial colors, sugars, syrups, preservatives or fluoride.
Full Sail supports its community by donating all spent grains and yeast solids—a combined 5,408 tons annually— to feed Northwest dairy cows. They also recycle all biosolids (which have been treated in their own plant) to local farmers to be used as fertilizer. The recently organic certified company also stands behind other neighborhood businesses by selling local breads, dairy products, free-range meats, coffees and greens in their tasting room.
NEW BELGIUM BREWING COMPANY, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO
New Belgium Brewing Company’s beers are known for being quite hoppy and the fact of the matter is that it takes a good amount of water to make a hoppy beer. The company currently uses 3.96 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer but they have a goal to reduce that to 3.5 by the end of 2015.
This past year the brewery managed to divert 99.9 percent of waste from the landfill by intensifying their recycling process and this year they hope to become a certified Zero Waste facility. As for greenhouse gas emissions—you know, those gases we create when we drive our cars and brew our beers— New Belgium is working towards cutting their CO2 emissions by 25 percent. The company also runs the Beer Scouts, an interdepartmental volunteer group which sponsors community events and service projects.
THE ALASKAN BREWING COMPANY, JUNEAU, ALASKA
The Alaskan Brewing Company operates under a zero-net negative effect mission. This means that they reclaim and reuse as much waste and emissions as they produce. One way that they attain that is through their CO2 reclamation system.
In 1998 they became the first brewery to harness the byproduct for use in packaging their beer, preventing the release of more than one million pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Though there are no local farmers in Juneau for the company to send their spent grains to, they do dry them and ship them to farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest.
THE BROOKLYN BREWERY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
The Brooklyn Brewery was the first New York business to use entirely wind-generated power. Sustainability efforts also include the recycling of all paper, plastic and bottles, as well as spent grains which are sent to New Jersey to be used as pig feed.
Their storage warehouse is equipped with solar panels that provide roughly a third of their total power and they’re working to capture and reuse their naturally produced CO2. While they have yet to fully realize that initiative, they have installed a new, highly efficient brewhouse which reuses heat vapors, recycles hot water, and uses less heat to get to the requisite brewing temperature.
HARPOON BREWERY, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
In 2012 Mayor Thomas Menino presented Harpoon Brewery the Boston Green Business Award in recognition of all of their environmentally friendly practices. The brewery has a Sustainability Committee made up of staff from all different departments to ensure that every aspect of the business is held up to their sustainability standards.
They have installed motion activated lights so no lights are left on at night, they have a new energy efficient chiller, and like most of the other breweries, they also donate all spent grains to local farmers. One initiative that separates them from the pack is that they encourage their employees and visitors to bike to the brewery.
BISON ORGANIC BEER, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
In 2010 Bison Organic Beer was the very first brewery in the world to become B Corp certified. What does that mean, you ask? Simply put, it means that they are dedicated to using only socially and environmentally responsible practices to run their business and they have met the accountability and transparency standards set by the B Corps.
Bison hopes that their consumers will see the value in buying organic as they provide this eyeopening fact; “A restaurant or bar choosing to buy and sell one 15.5 gallon keg (or 7 cases) of organic beer a week creates demand for a farmer to convert one football field of farmland from conventional to organic agriculture.”
BREWERY VIVANT, GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
Like most other breweries on this list, Brewery Vivant also boasts its very own “first.” In 2012 Vivant was the first brewery in the US to become LEED Certified. One way that the company decided to give back to its community was by trying to limit all of their purchases to the Great Lakes region in order to boost the local economy—last year they managed 64 percent.
They have also set a goal for their employees to complete 200 hours of community service per year. While their staff is out taking care of their community, know that Vivant is looking out for them as well. Rather than paying their employees minimum wage, they pay living wage.