The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at Lakefront Brewery

What’s your name and the name of your brewery?
I’m Matt Krajnak, and I work for Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

How long have you been in the business?
We were established in 1987.

Where are you located?
We’re located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin right along side the Milwaukee River.

What volume of beer do you produce and where do you distribute?
This year will be our first year as a regional craft brewery; we’re producing over 15,000 barrels this year, and we’re distributed in 38 states, along with 2 Canadian provinces, and Israel.

What are your plans for growth, if any?
Our immediate plans for growth include expanding the capacity of our current brewhouse.

What makes your brewery sustainable?
Our brewery donates all our spent mash to Growing Power; they compost it and turn it into organic fertilizer. Wind power makes up 5% of our total energy use. We also reclaim heat energy from the wort (the sweet, malty, liquid that after fermentation becomes beer) to heat water for our next batch of beer. We have a white roof on the building to cut down on the urban heat island effect. Our brewery is in a repurposed coal fired power plant, offsetting energy needed to build a new building, and takes advantage of in-place infrastructure. Lakefront Brewery was also the first brewery to produce an organic-certified beer, Organic E.S.B.; we feel that purchasing organically-grown raw materials aids in the sustainability cycle that our spent grain goes back into.

What’s your biggest sustainability challenge?
Our biggest sustainability challenge is the cost of implementing new projects.

Any new sustainability projects in the pipeline that have you excited?
One project we would like to implement next would be reclaiming heat from our refrigeration units, and using that to heat water for brewing.

Forget finances- what’s your brewery pipe dream?
Our brewery’s pipe dream would be getting a wind turbine in place. We’d also like to have a completely green roof by composting our spent grain on top of it and growing grass or hops up there.

What is the one thing you want Triple Pundit readers to know about your brewery?
We’re an innovative brewery: we were the first brewery to make a fruit beer (Cherry Lager) since prohibition, the first in the U.S. to make an organic-certified beer (Organic E.S.B.), the first to package a 4-pack of 22 oz bottles (Lakefront 88), and we’re one of very few breweries that make a commercially-produced Pumpkin Lager.

What’s your favorite brew?
If I had to pick just one favorite beer, it would be the Lakefront IPA.

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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