The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at The Brooklyn Brewery

What’s your name and the name of your brewery?
Dan D’Ippolito, Communications Coordinator of The Brooklyn Brewery.

How long have you been in the business?
The Brooklyn Brewery has been in operation since 1988.

Where are you located?
We are located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

What volume of beer do you produce and where do you distribute?
We produced 110,000 barrels in 2010, and distribute in nearly half of the United States, as well as internationally in Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, India, China, Japan, and soon in Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Germany and Norway.

What makes your brewery sustainable?
The Brooklyn Brewery is the first New York City company to use 100% wind-generated electricity; we recycle all our paper, plastic, and bottles; we recycle our spent grain, sending it to a facility in NJ that turns it into pig feed, and to the Queens County Farm Museum that feeds it to their chickens and pigs and also uses it as compost; we recycle hot water from the brewhouse; all cold and hot pipes are insulated with high-tech foamglass insulation from Dow Corning; the warehouse that holds our beer as it ships around the world has solar panels on the roof that provide about 1/3 of their total power needs; our tasting room uses compostable cups.

What are your plans for growth, if any?
We are currently expanding our brewhouse in Williamsburg to increase our capacity for our draft beers, 750 ml “Big Bottle” beers, Brewmaster’s Reserve limited release specialty beers, and one-off experiments. As a result, we expect to produce 30% more in 2011, and double in size by 2013.

What’s your biggest sustainability challenge?
Capturing and reusing the CO2 that is naturally produced in the brewing process.

Any new sustainability projects in the pipeline that have you excited?
We’re installing a new, more efficient brewhouse that reuses heat from the vapors off the kettle using a vapor stack heat recovery system, recycles even more hot water, uses an external wort boiler that is much more efficient and uses less heat to get to the necessary temperature, and features more efficient wort chillers.

Forget finances- what’s your brewery pipe dream?
To install an anaerobic digester, using our organic waste to generate our own power.

What is the one thing you want Triple Pundit readers to know about your brewery?
Since the founding of the company, The Brooklyn Brewery has devoted the vast majority of its marketing efforts to supporting the local community. There are few things that can bring people together better than beer, and The Brewery is proud to contribute to many not-for-profit fundraisers and arts organizations. Sustainability is a goal that is widely shared in the community we support, and as we continue to grow we aim to be a leader in sustainable practices.

What’s your favorite brew?
My favorite beer is Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. It’s a truly unique, refreshing, and downright delicious beer that pairs well with all sorts of great food.

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.

One response

  1. As an Environmental technologies expert, and a big fan of Brooklyn Brewery (I am proudly wearing my BB tee shirt as I type this) this was a great article.

    P.S. I could use to see some of that fine, fine beer being shipped down here to Buenos Aires, Argentina where I currently live…

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