As breweries prepare and begin to reopen, now is a great time for a refresher on the basics of sustainable implementations within breweries. The world that we are returning to is a new normal, and while many things are changing, it is also important to remain focused on practices that should continue to be upheld in the coming months.
As April ends and May begins, we still find ourselves in the midst of possibly the most impactful of our lifetime. COVID-19 has clinched control of all aspects of society. Our daily lives and routines have been significantly altered, along with how we conduct business. For breweries, these unprecedented times are hitting the bottom line hard. The Brewers Association (BA) recently launched a COVID-19 impact survey which pointed out some staggering, yet anticipated responses.
Crafting quality beer in a socially and environmentally responsible way is being done today by breweries of all sizes. After a recent visit to Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI, we realized how many sustainable practices are being executed by this company that is producing over 40,000 Bbl of beer a year. With the owner’s mindset already focused on being environmentally friendly, the team at Lakefront took this commitment and ran with it. To list every sustainable effort that Lakefront has implemented would take far too long, so here are just a few highlights.
March has been an impactful month for the entire world. Our focus, our lifestyle and our daily routines have been completely altered by this current COVID-19 pandemic. Craft breweries are just one of many industries that are being heavily impacted during this time, yet the amount of resiliency that will continue to be seen, as we push forward, is quite inspiring. A lot of negativity has been brought to light surrounding the COVID-19 virus, so this is a great opportunity for us to take that ‘pint glass half-full’ outlook on these circumstances as it relates to craft beer.
With a new decade, brings new and even more innovative ideas for beers to be made. From the now all-so familiar whiskey barrel-aged stout with coffee and chocolate, to the Double IPA loaded with an abundance of different hop varietals and kettle sours featuring every fruit that you could ever think of. All of these beers have something in common, and that is the less than ordinary ingredients.
It is well known that a major topic relating to the production of beer is water. As many most likely know, beer is made up of roughly 95 percent water. However, the amount of water used specifically for the production of beer is far greater. According to the Brewer’s Association, somewhere around 70 percent of that production water intake will end up as effluent (the wastewater that is generated and discharged through the sewer system.) Some of the main inputs in effluent which contribute to total suspended solids (TSS) include spent grain, yeast, and hops.
Singlespeed Brewing Co. in Waterloo, IA is utilizing photovoltaic solar panels which are installed on the roof of their 35,000+ sq. foot facility to offset a portion of their energy consumption. Not only does this save the brewery money, but it promotes the use of renewable energy sources among businesses within the industry and state.
The Iowa Green Brewery Certification (IGBC) is a program within the Iowa Waste Reduction Center at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The IGBC was launched 3 years ago when staff at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center were exploring options for industry-specific environmental assistance. Ultimately, the craft beer industry deemed to be a perfect fit because of its rapid growth and extreme energy-intensive processes. Now going into its third year, the Iowa Green Brewery Certification continues to provide free assistance to all breweries in the state of Iowa who are looking to increase their environmental stewardship.
Anybody that has visited their local craft brewery or follows a craft brewery on social media is most likely familiar with how involved these businesses are in their local community. A few of the topics that likely come to mind when someone hears the word “sustainability” may include recycling, environmental stewardship, and even climate change. Community involvement and outreach are two very important branches of sustainability of which are often overlooked.