In many cases, breweries have managed to improve their efficiency, reduce waste and save money as they attempt to become a zero emissions facility. Julie Carling of beer search and selection company The Carling Partnership has investigated a couple of breweries who have made an effort to reduce carbon emissions and become environmentally sustainable.
Mad River Brewing Company
Established in 1989, the Mad River Brewing Company has become well-known for its Steelhead and Jamaica Ales. The company has also been one of the leaders when it comes to waste reduction and reducing carbon emissions. They have already won a total of 10 Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP) awards from the Californian government, which demonstrates how committed they are to sustainability.
The brewery had a strong focus on sustainability from its inception, using many recycled and repurposed building materials when it was constructed. The company recycles or reuses an astonishing 98% of residuals and is gradually getting closer to its goal of generating zero waste.
The Mad River Brewing Company diverts more than 600 tons of organic and recyclable waste material from landfills each year. This includes items like glass, hops, grain, paper and pallets. By doing so, the company makes a substantial saving on fees associated with rubbish removal.
The brewery carefully plans how it uses recyclable and reusable materials like glass, cardboard, steel and wood. When possible, they reuse these materials or, in the case of cardboard, add them to their organic material recycling processes.
Items like hop sacks are used around the brewery to help with landscaping and erosion prevention. Large malt bags are used to hold other recyclable materials. The brewery makes an effort to keep consumers involved, taking both glass and cardboard of used products from beer lovers. The timber from pallets usually goes to energy providers to be burnt or to a local seafood processing plant to be re-used. Pallets that are in very bad shape are ground up into mulch.
The brewery also closely tracks water usage and has achieved a dramatic reduction in the amount of water required for brewing in recent years. The reduction was largely achieved by auditing water usage practices and updating equipment. Wastewater is treated on-site and removes most of the solids before the water is reused.
Sierra Nevada is a leader when it comes to energy generation and they use more than 10,000 solar panels at its Chico brewery in California. They also capture natural gas that is created from the wastewater treatment plants and use it to generate more energy.
In terms of energy efficiency, the Sierra Nevada breweries use a variety of innovative technologies to save or generate energy. They include heat recovery units on boilers, micro turbines to capture energy from steam, and energy conservation devices on large motors. They also use ambient light sensors to control lighting in their breweries. The company uses the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building program in their breweries to make the buildings more sustainable.
Sierra Nevada uses many locally-grown ingredients to reduce the amount of emissions from transporting raw materials. The company has also started growing its own organically-certified hops and barley at their Chico brewery.
The company has also led the charge when it comes to sustainable packaging, selling more products in cans. Cans weigh less than bottles which reduce transportation-related emissions.
These are just some of the measures being undertaken by breweries in the United States in an effort to reach zero emissions. Many beer makers have a strong interest in sustainability and for making a quality product that does the right thing by the planet!
About Carling Partnership
Got some beer industry news or events you would like to share? Beer Up welcomes guest contributors and updates from all areas of the beer industry. In our quest for the most unique original content, we are always looking for ways to spotlight companies involved in beer outside of the typical bars, brewers and restaurants. Not sure if your story is worthy? Feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com or @beerupblog on twitter and instagram.