The Pacific Northwest is home to America’s most important hop producing region, one that locals work every day to promote and protect. Changes to the climate and concern over preserving the future viability of the storied agricultural land is leading farmers, brewers, and conservationists to team up to better inform drinkers of the importance of shielding its water sources.
Looking at the why and how to build a successful sustainability program at your brewery
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Conservation begins on the land. As the craft malt space continues to make inroads with beer, many of the farmers are showcasing their sustainability efforts. This helps drive deeper connections with clients and customers and shows what small batch farming can really do when it comes to meaningful growth.
Brewers have an abundance of options when it comes to producing their merch. Coozies, key chains, hoodies, and countless other items carry brewery logos and beer names, all in hopes of capturing the attention of consumers. Many of those would be customers are interested in purchasing things made from recycled materials. Let’s look at how brewers can smartly use recycled materials to create something new and connect with a wider audience base.
Sustainability is more than a buzz word when it comes to the brewing industry. Beer takes a lot of resources to make and can create a lot of waste. Best practices are top of mind for many brewers and there is always room for improvement.
California’s Anderson Valley Brewing Co. has been at the forefront of sustainability efforts for nearly 30 years and has learned a lot – and done a lot of good – along the way. ProBrewer contributor John Holl spoke with Kevin McGee the President and CEO of Anderson Valley about the past, present, and future.
Let’s face it. Craft brewing is super cool. I mean, where else can you roll up your sleeves and create something tasty, bubbly and so socially accepted? But as sexy as this artisan world is, it comes complete with its energy-sucking demons that not only cost you a pile of money but are also bad for the environment. And you know who’s not going to appreciate that? The Gen Zers and millennials who make up the lion’s share of your craft beer drinking target market.
After a recipe is developed, the ingredients are carefully selected, a beer is brewed with care, and fermented properly, it is time for packaging. Brewers put a lot of thought into their packaging, not only design but function, durability, and how it takes care of the beer.
As the world continues to change and a greater focus is put on sustainability, environmental impact and becoming carbon neutral breweries are going to have options and choices when it comes to creating a brewhouse of the future that has smarter packaging.
The brewhouse of the future, which is closer than some might realize, is also going to focus on automation – even on the smaller scale – which will still allow brewers to be hands on but will increase safety.
There is a lot of talk about CO2 shortages these days and brewers are thinking about next steps, the supply chain, or adding equipment to their breweries that can help mitigate shortfalls.
Beer Edge editor John Holl spoke with Lindsey Cole, who directs Food and Beverage solutions at FuelCell Energy, a company that manufacturers equipment that can recycle CO2 about the technology, and benefits.
Sustainability once felt like a New Age concept, one uttered by the impractical with little appreciation for the logistical challenges facing businesses. Those days are coming to an end as brewers acknowledge the impacts of climate change on their businesses are serious and require substantial efforts to combat.
“I kind of see skepticism at the really small level, we’re talking 500 or 1,000 barrels a year,” says John Stier, formerly Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs for Anheuser-Busch and former Sustainability Mentor at the Brewers Association. “I don’t see it with those who are brewing over 100,000 barrels a year. They kind of get it already. They’re watching the bigger guys and seeing what they’re doing and sustainability is part of that. They need to keep an eye on it and become more efficient or else they can’t remain profitable.”
Based on 5 years of benchmarking data collected, the Brewers Association has found that electricity is the greatest utility cost per barrel packaged, no matter the size of the brewery. Although the price of electricity can’t be controlled, there are many small, low cost best practices that you can control to use less electricity – and save money.
The BA Sustainability Committee has put together this list of 5 things any brewery can do to reduce electrical use.
Climate change seems like a distant concern to the brewing industry in the middle of a global pandemic. But the impacts could be both more severe and much longer lasting.
Global brewers such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors are all investing heavily in finding new drought- and heat-resistant hops and barley, but small-scale brewers are less equipped to deal with the challenges posed by the changing climate. “Sustainability does not just mean doing the right thing,” Chris Swersey, a supply chain specialist and competition manager for the Brewers Association says in an article in Great Washington. “Sustainability literally means that. How am I going to contribute to the ongoing sustainability of my business? You know, the existence of my business?”
Full story here.
After Utah’s recent “Big Dump”, when 275 cases of bottles and cans were taken from a warehouse in Salt Lake City to Wasatch Resource Recovery and all 275 cases—almost $18,000 worth of now-discontinued beer—were poured out.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the sad situation was necessary, because the beer could no longer be sold after the law change. Instead, its aluminum cans and glass bottles were emptied and recycled. The beer itself went into an aerobic digester, where it will eventually be turned into natural gas or used as fertilizer.
“If you can’t buy it and you can’t drink it, this is the best place for it,” the facility’s sustainability manager Morgan Bowerman told the Tribune.
Since 2015 the Brewers Association has tracking from its members their resource use on a voluntary online data collection portal. The data collected has since been used to develop industry benchmarking reports, which allow brewers to compare their efficiency with other breweries in their region and with breweries of similar production volume around the U.S.
That online portal is no longer available and the BA has announced that it now has a Microsoft Excel-based system instead. The new system provides ease of use, functionality and tracking completeness.
“Tracking resource use is the first step in reducing resource use,” Chuck Skypeck, Technical Brewing Projects Manager for the BA said in a BA statement. “Used together, the benchmarking tool and the benchmarking reports help brewers decrease the use of natural resources and increase brewery profitability, while helping to ensure the availability of the resources needed to continue to brew great beer.”