The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at Anderson Valley Brewery

What’s your name and the name of your brewery?
Fal Allen, Brewer at The Anderson Valley Brewery

How long have you been in the business?
23 years – we opened in 1987

Where are you located?
Boonville, Mendocino County – Northern California. The Anderson Valley Brewery sits on 28 acres, most of which is pasture land.

What volume of beer do you produce and where do you distribute?
30,000 bbls in 2010

What are your plans for growth, if any?
20 % annual for the next few years

What makes your brewery sustainable?

* Solar
We derive about 50% of our electrical power from the sun. We have solar panels across the roof of our brewery. These solar panels not only generate power for the brewery but they help to reduce our cooling load in the summer. The panels create an insulating layer on the hot side of the building which in turn reduces the ambient temperature inside by about 20 degrees F. This means that the refrigeration system load is reduced by as much as 25% in fermentation and cellaring, as the systems do not have to overcome a higher ambient temperature to maintain the tanks at proper temperatures.

* Spent Raw materials
100% of our spent hops and spent grains that were used in the brewing process go to local farmers to be used as animal feed. Our excess yeast created during fermentation is converted into fertilizer.

* Water & Waste Water
We have 8 wells on our property that produce 100% of the water we use here. All the water used in our brewery comes from our property.

We treat 100% of our waste water on site. First the waste water is treated in an anaerobic digester (which produces methane gas that we in turn use to run the digesters). After the waste water exits the anaerobic digesters it is treated in three aerobic ponds. Some of the aeration in these ponds is provided by wind powered air pumps. After final treatment in the ponds the water is clean enough to use to irrigate our fields – which we do. Because we use our waste water for irrigation we do not use any toxic cleaners of any kind up stream.

* Recycling
We recycle all our waste glass, paper, plastic, cardboard and metal, as well as all electronics and used lubricants. This in turn reduces the amount that actually goes to the land fill and saves the company money.
Here’s some more information about our company’s commitment to recycling and reuse.

* Goats
We have a small flock of goats that help with vegetation control on the property. They in turn fertilize the grounds.

* Farming
We organically grow some of our hops which we use in special beers that we make each year. By growing the hops on our own land we reduce the petroleum that would have been used to ship them from other areas.

What’s your biggest sustainability challenge?
Waste water

Any new sustainability projects in the pipeline that have you excited?
Our new anaerobic waste water digester that just came on line – wheeee

Forget finances- what’s your brewery pipe dream?
We want to one day be 100% solar powered

What is the one thing you want Triple Pundit readers to know about your brewery?
We have a 18 hole disc golf course – all natural

What’s your favorite brew?
Our Hop Ottin IPA – yumm

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit and editorial director at 3BL Media. 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. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC to Fair Trade USA 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 toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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