The Green Brewhaha: Sustainability at Wild Rose Brewery

Here at Wild Rose Brewery we believe that you can brew amazing beers without compromising what’s truly important. For us education, giving back to the community and sustainability are all important elements of being “wild.” Supporting local groups and organizations through sponsorship and our Charity Pint Program is an important part of who and what we are. Encouraging people to drink local is also a key part of our philosophy. We also host the local home brewing club – Cowtown Yeast Wranglers – for their monthly meetings.

What’s your name and the name of your brewery?
Tina Wolfe, Marketing Manager with Wild Rose Brewery

How long have you been in the business?
Wild Rose Brewery started brewing in 1996

Where are you located?
We are located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

What are your plans for growth, if any?
Oh, they’re top secret! OK, not really… we will continue to keep our focus on serving local beer drinkers in Alberta. Once we’ve completed that task we will look at expanding into other provinces.

What makes your brewery sustainable?
Here are just a few things that make us sustainable:
Wild Rose Brewery Charity Pints Program – every month we make a contribution back to the community through our in house charity pint program.
We use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, including locally produced specialty malts:

  • Alberta wheat malt made from “Andrew” wheat (a soft white spring wheat) grown in Southern Alberta; malted in Calgary and bagged in Didsbury, Alberta. This is the only local wheat malt in the market and it lends a unique quality to Wild Rose’s wheat beers.
  • Alberta produced Munich malt made from “Metcalfe” barley grown mainly in Alberta; malted in Calgary and bagged in Didsbury, Alberta. This malt is used in recipes to create a very malty, biscuity flavour in a range of beers.

Our decor can be described as “Recycled Industrial.” Most of our tables, chairs, lighting fixtures, etc. have been repurposed from other materials. If you have a chance, please stop by and check us out! Look for the beer keg chandeliers and our old grundy tank bar front.

Brewing by-products: During the brewing process the malted grains are added to the brew and we’re left with the “spent grains” or empty grain husks after the mash process. These “spent grains” are given to a local farmer who feeds them to his cows. Lucky cows!

  • Bottle recycling: Every delicious (empty) bottle of Wild Rose can be re-used up to 15 or 20 times before being crushed and made into a new bottle. We also return empty juice, pop and milk containers from the Taproom.
  • Little known fact: Breweries (including Wild Rose) are carbon positive because barley absorbs CO2 when it is growing (much more than is created in the brewing process).
  • Office paper recycling: Not very exciting, but important nonetheless.
    Paper or plastic? For our to-go items, we have switched to paper bags (from plastic) and paper takeout containers (no more Styrofoam).
  • Suck it up: Too many drinking straws are needlessly used and tossed away every day. If you don’t want a beer in our Taproom, we hope you enjoy your pop sans straw.
  • Energy conservation: We do not turn on unnecessary lights until the Taproom opens.
  • Reduce, reuse: Instead of purchasing new items, we tend to look for “previously loved” items that can find a new use.
  • Recapture: In order to prevent water overflowing from our too small boiler system, we reused an old keg to capture the water which was previously going down the drain. Savings equal up to 75 L of hot water every day (and the energy required to heat it!).
  • Chill out: During the brewing process, cold water flows through a heat exchanger to cool the wort. Basically, this water gets hot while the wort is cooled. This newly hot water is stored and used to start the next batch of beer.
    Light it up: We are actively replacing fluorescent light tubes with lower wattages.

What’s your biggest sustainability challenge?
The biggest challenge we have is securing the appropriate funding to achieve all of the projects that we’ve dreamed about implementing.

Forget finances- what’s your brewery pipe dream?
To create and build the most eco-sustainable brewery in Canada while still brewing the highest quality beers.

What is the one thing you want Triple Pundit readers to know about your brewery?
Education is important and we want to “educate” everyone in Alberta and beyond about our craft beers (and sometimes education can be a very thirsty business!).

What’s your favorite brew?
Right now it has to be our Wild Rose Cherry Porter, but I will be easily swayed towards our Imperial IPA (which launches in early January 2011). A “favourite” beer will always depend on the season/weather, what (if any) food is being enjoyed, and mood.

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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