If you think about it, Halloween kicks off the holiday season. During this busy time of year beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are plentiful. Many of us imbibe a little more than usual with the hope of enhancing our holiday cheer. Although I have had many opportunities to become a beer drinker, I have never acquired a taste for it. My category of choice would be “wine consumer-wannabe expert”.
So why am I writing a post on beer? Because I am intrigued by a growing movement to make eco-conscious beer. Spending some time this past summer with one of my favorite beer loving friends, I was able to learn a lot about this growing trend in the beer industry. Many brewers are attempting to address issues such as climate change, energy security, and sustainability. Here are a few of the many taking the lead in the ‘green’ brewery movement:
6 ECO-FRIENDLY BREWERIES
- New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado– All I can say is this company totally rocks in greenness. New Belgium, by vote of its employee owners, switched to wind power electricity. Wind energy provides an alternative to fossil fuels-it is a renewable resource, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. New Belgium also donates 1% of their revenue to environmental non-profits, recycles waste products, uses green design throughout their building and gives bicycles to its employees after they’ve been employed for a year. Their beer is to die for….according to those in the know. Oh, and they have a Groovy Goods category…..pushing this company to the top of my Groovy Green list.
- Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River Oregon-While average breweries consume 6 to 8 gallons of water per gallon of beer produced, Full Sail reduced their consumption to an impressive 3.45 gallons. It is also pretty cool to be an employee of this employee owned company that has compressed their work week into four 10-hour shifts, reducing power consumption and water use by 20%. Full Sail has installed energy efficient lighting and air compressors which reduce energy usage. They also use local grains and hops to produce their delicious brew.
- Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York–They obtain 100 percent of their energy from wind-first brewery in NYC for this. The brewery pays the Con Edison power company for the 285,000 kilowatt-hours it uses off the grid annually to be replaced with energy from an upstate wind farm. Each year, Brooklyn Brewery’s commitment to clean energy saves the atmosphere from 335,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 1,500 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 500 pounds of nitrogen oxide that would otherwise be emitted.
- Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin–Lakefront Brewery is the country’s oldest certified organic brewery. They donate approximately 15,000 lbs./week of spent grain and nutrient rich soil that provides growing power for an inner city farm. Currently 5% of Lakefront Brewery’s power is derived from wind power.
- Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska–They reuse at least as much waste and emissions as they produce. Alaskan Brewing donates 1% of proceeds from Alaskan IPA to promote the health and sustainability of the Pacific Ocean and its coastlines. This effort is called the Coastal CODE because Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone.
- Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio-To help reduce their carbon footprint their beer delivery truck and “Fatty Wagon” shuttle bus run on straight vegetable oil – a renewable fuel made from their reclaimed and filtered restaurant oil. They have entered into what’s referred to as a “closed loop” recycling system. Everything that would be considered waste is used somewhere else within the brewery or the surrounding community –for example local farmers reuse Great Lakes Brewery grains to feed their livestock.
Drink Your Beer in an Eco-Friendly Growler
Don’t know what a growler is-you’re not alone. The New York Times calls beer drinking in a growler the beer accessory of the moment. Growlers are reusable, refillable jugs that some breweries will fill with freshly brewed beer and sell. You can take a growler home, drink up, wash the jug, and take it back to be refilled or returned.
Have you tried any of these beers-or any other eco-friendly brews?
Now that you know all about ‘green’ beer stay tuned for info on a very cool company, Rotorcaps, that reuses beer bottle caps to make super funky jewelry.
You must be in compliance with your state’s legal drinking age to try any of these brews. Also, please remember to drink responsibly.