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.
In 2017, Lakefront installed a 70 kWDC solar panel system on the roof of their warehouse facility in Milwaukee. Since the installation, more than 166 MWh of energy have been generated. This is equivalent to a 56 ton reduction in CO2 in the year 2019 alone. With the energy production from their solar panels, Lakefront offsets roughly 39% of their annual energy consumption simply by harnessing the power of the Midwest sun.
Lakefront has also overhauled some technical brewing processes to become more sustainable. One of these includes the implementation of a heat exchanger to reuse hot water, lowering the amount of water usage by the brewery. Another process includes the installation of a heat recovery unit which captures ambient heat that can be used to heat water for use in various brewhouse cleaning processes. The brewery also developed and uses a database which can monitor and track various utility usages, allowing for maximum efficiency. As discussed in Benchmarking for Success: Sustainably Reducing Resource Use, the implementation of tracking mechanisms has benefits including both cost savings and overall reduction of resources and emissions. For a brewery of Lakefront’s size, the positive effects of tracking resource efficiencies can be substantial.
Through a quick look at their social media or talking with a Milwaukee local, it is very apparent that Lakefront Brewery is very involved in their local community. For example, Russ Klisch, the president of Lakefront, is a founding member of Local First Milwaukee, a network of businesses in Milwaukee who are committed to supporting all things local. As well, in 2013 the brewery produced a beer named Local Acre Wisconsin Wet Hop which features only local ingredients. Throughout its years in business, Lakefront has conducted numerous drives to raise money or items for local organizations, including food, coat and even toy drives. Milwaukee is a collaborative community with focus on environmental and social sustainability, and Lakefront has been a leader along the way.
Lakefront Brewery is notorious for having one of the best craft brewery tours available. These tours help the public take a look at what happens behind the scenes of their incredible brewery. Covering the history of the brewery, the production process, sustainability initiatives and of course doing some taste testing, the Lakefront brewery tour is not one to pass up if you have the opportunity to visit. Unapologetically committed to their community and local environment, Lakefront Brewery is a true sustainability champion in the craft beer industry and continues to raise the bar on what can be done to produce craft beer sustainably.
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Iowa Waste Reduction Center