The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

What’s your name and the name of your brewery?
Ann Widmer, Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

How long have you been in the business?
27 years

Where are you located?
Portland, Oregon

What volume of beer do you produce and where do you distribute?

The Widmer Brothers brewery produced approximately 286,000 Bbl in 2009, We are distributed nationally

What are your plans for growth, if any?
Continued growth in targeted national markets.

What makes your brewery sustainable?
We received a “Climate Champion” award by the Portland Office of Sustainability and Development. We also have the “Recycle at Work” certification, the “Portland Composts” certification, and a Blue Sky wind power certification. Our greatest responsibility belongs to the environment and the conservation of the earth. As a company we strive to bring about sustainability from origination to destination. Sustainability, to us, includes protecting the environment, our financial resources, our employees, our customers, and the community. We have realistic programs in place to implement environmental, financial, human resource, and community sustainability goals.

We are implementing the ISO14001 environmental management process. Through this comprehensive approach, we are reaching our goals for reductions in water, natural gas, and electricity. Our employees support a growing culture of sustainability decisions and practices. In order to reduce our carbon footprint we aggressively recycle cardboard, plastic, glass, metal and paper, turn out lights, and encourage alternative transportation. In 2009-10 we implemented an “empty miles” program to reduce distribution mileage by 22% and eliminate 1,533 metric tonnes of CO2 a year.

What’s your biggest sustainability challenge?
Our largest sustainability challenge (and opportunity) is to reduce the fuel consumed in the distribution of our product.

Any new sustainability projects in the pipeline that have you excited?
We are exploring the potential for water-neutral beer production…..1 gal. of water to make 1 gal. of beer. We are presently implementing programs that bring us ever-closer to that goal.

Forget finances- what’s your brewery pipe dream?
A beer that is 100% produced and distributed with the minimum amount of sustainably-responsible energy.

What is the one thing you want Triple Pundit readers to know about your brewery?
That we would like to adopt the “best sustainability practices” of any other brewery that is willing to share, and are glad to share our practices as well.

What’s your favorite brew?
My holiday favorite this year is Widmer Brrr, but I never stop loving Widmer Hefeweizen.

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Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton has been the editor in chief of TriplePundit for 8 years. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. She spent a few years in the non-profit policy sector as well, but we won't talk about that. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with her toddler overlord and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.