Water: The Next ‘Gold’

Water conservation conference to take place in Milwaukee in October

The first independent conference on water conservation for craft brewers brings together water policymakers in the Great Lakes and experts in water saving systems from Bridgeport Brewing Co. (Jeff Edgerton), New Glarus Brewing Co. (Dan Carey), Odell Brewing Co. (Doug Odell), and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Fred Strachan). Dick Leinenkugel, Secretary of Commerce for the state of Wisconsin, delivers the keynote address for The Great Lakes Craft Brewers & Water Conservation Conference.

The conference will help craft brewers save water and save money. With many water utilities in North America increasing fees by 25% or more in the next year, this conference will pay for itself through practical systems for water savings. Early registration is just $195 per person, until September 18, 2009.

Policy panel discussions cover the Great Lakes Compact, which affects 20 percent of the world’s supply of freshwater. Presentations include:

Dick Leinenkugel, Secretary of Commerce, State of Wisconsin, discusses the M-7 Water Council and initiatives to foster water technology and innovations in his keynote address on Monday, October 26, 2009.

Jeff Edgerton, Assistant Brewmaster, Bridgeport Brewing Co., Portland, OR, discusses water savings and retrofits, from rinse water reclamation to re-use of bright tanks, and how procedural changes added up to significant annual savings.

Dan Carey, co-founder and Master Brewer, and Randy Barr, New Glarus Brewing Co., both will conduct tours of the Hilltop Brewery’s new wastewater treatment center, which is the first of its kind to be installed outside the Pacific Rim.

Doug Odell, co-founder and “head water guy,” Odell Brewing Co., Ft. Collins, CO, talks about how to work with your local government — and a few innovative systems that let Odell achieve a ratio of just 3 gallons of water to brew a gallon of beer.

Fred Strachan, Supervisor, Water Process & Systems, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, discusses water audits and equipment monitoring to track water usage throughout the brewhouse and pub operations, and how to work with your water utility.

The panels and presentations will begin on Monday, October 26, at the Pilot House, Pier Wisconsin, in downtown Milwaukee, an architectural jewel overlooking Lake Michigan. Monday evening features a dinner buffet and reception with award-winning cheesemakers of Wisconsin and craft breweries, with tickets available to the public, $60.

On Tuesday, October 27, the group will meet for Doug Odell’s presentation followed by a bus trip to tour the wastewater treatment facility at the New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Hilltop Brewery.

Early registration for the two-day conference is $195, including lunches and the reception until September 18, when the rate will raise to $250. Space is limited to 250 attendees. Online registration and details are available at http://www.conserve-greatlakes.com/.

For more information, contact [email]h20greatlakes@gmail.com[/email], or call 800-760-5998 to reach conference organizer Lucy Saunders, F&B Communications LLC.

“I think the Conference is a great idea. Craft Brewers have the opportunity to be leaders in water conservation and sustainability. All we have to do is apply our natural penchant for innovation and we can change the norm. Many of us have made good progress but there is more we can do through collaboration,” stated Doug Odell, co-founder, Odell Brewing Co.


  1. LokeBrewSF says

    Glad to see that there is a lot of interest in trying to find ways to reduce water usage in breweries. It is an issue that not only spans this industry, but every industry and every person. Good luck to you all in October, I hope some great ideas come out of it.