Love sustainable beer? Join Triple Pundit as we take our 'Stories & Beer' series on the road! It all starts in Philadelphia on Sept. 30, where we'll discuss the B Corp movement and "measuring positive impact." Then, it's on to New York City on Oct. 2 for a chat about sustainable fashion and water conservation. We'll wrap things up with a happy hour event at SXSW Eco in Austin on Oct. 7. Hope to see you there!
With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
It's Friday afternoon, and you're bound to be feeling a little thirsty. To help you choose a sustainable sip for tonight's happy hour, this week we're rounding up 10 of the most sustainable breweries in the U.S. So, grab a cold one, and rest easy knowing it had little to no impact on our planet.
New Belgium is currently diverting 99.9 percent of its waste from landfills and has reduced water use per barrel of beer to 3.5:1 (averages range from 6:1 to 10:1). The company is also a partner in the Brewers for Clean Water campaign and has donated close to half a million dollars to restore local waterways. The brewery also takes a "high-involvement" approach when it comes to its community, hosting events and give-back initiatives to help support the people that love its beer. The fact that it's 100 percent employee-owned doesn't hurt either.
In its tasting room, Yards composts all food scraps and uses recycled materials wherever possible (the bar top, for example, was made from recycled bowling lanes). The company also sponsors an event on Earth Day each year to raise awareness of the declining honeybee population. We'll toast to that!
The company also recycles its hot water and serves samples out of compostable cups at its tasting room in Williamsburg. For more on sustainability at Brooklyn Brewery, check out our exclusive video interview with COO Eric Ottaway.
Its brewery in Chico, California also houses one of the largest privately-owned solar arrays in the country. More than 10,000 panels produce 2 megawatts of power -- enough to meet 20 percent of the brewery's energy needs. The brewery sources another 20 percent of its power from on-site hydrogen fuel cells. It also captures CO2 released during fermentation and recycles it back into the brewery, as well as sending spent grain to local farms.
Located along the Columbia River in scenic Hood River, Oregon, it's no wonder Full Sail was so focused on sustainability -- and the brewery kept it going for more than 20 years. While average breweries consume 6 to 8 gallons of water per gallon of beer produced, Full Sail reduced its consumption to 2.5 gallons. The brewery is also modified for efficiency to cut energy use, and it sends surplus grains to local farms rather than tossing them in the landfill. For more information on sustainability at Full Sail, check out the video below.
With a focus on locally-sourced ingredients, 75 percent of Vivant's purchases are from Michigan, with 90 percent coming from within 250 miles of the brewery. The company also donated 11 percent of its profits to charitable causes last year, and pays all workers a living wage.
As you may have noticed from this list, many breweries recycle their grains through local farms. But with no livestock in Juneau, Alaskan Brewing had to devise another solution. The company has been drying and shipping its grain to farmers in the Pacific Northwest for 20 years, but it took things a step further in 2012 by developing a first-of-its-kind steam boiler fueled entirely by spent grain. With the new system, the brewery expects to reduce overall oil use by more than 65 percent.
If that's not enough reason to have a sip, the Berkeley, California-based brewery also committed to responsibly sourced packaging and 100 percent non-GMO ingredients.
Great Lakes also sends spent grain back to farmers for use as livestock feed; some is also recovered to produce the cracked barley beer bread and pretzels served at its brewpub. The brewpub also features 12 solar thermal panels and an energy-efficient boiler that heats water for brewing and restaurant use.
Image credit: New Belgium Brewing via Facebook
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.
Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Mazzoni’s recent work can be found in Conscious Company, AlterNet and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia.