As we strive to create a community of individuals with an interest in sustainable brewing, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight the program that set forth the idea for the Sustainable Brewing Society.  

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.   Displaying GrowlerCoverWithCreek.jpg

The main pillar of the IGBC is the certification process.  This process gives breweries the opportunity to work towards obtaining a certificate based on the level of sustainable practices implemented at their facilities.  The certification program is scored through four main categories including Environmental Management, Energy Efficiency, Water Quality & Conservation, and Resource & Solid Waste Management.  Depending on the scores given in these categories, a brewery can be awarded a certification level ranging from bronze, silver, gold or platinum. 

For the IGBC, the process for certifying a brewery will first start with scheduling a facility audit.  At this facility audit, staff from the Iowa Waste Reduction Center will tour the brewery and make note of certification criteria that are or aren’t being met.  Following the brewery audit, the Iowa Waste Reduction Center will draft a personalized recommendations report outlining current sustainable processes at the facility, as well as things that can be improved or implemented at the discretion of the brewery.  Lastly, the brewery will be awarded a certification level if applicable, and the IGBC will continue to provide assistance to the brewery as needed or requested.

As of October 2019, the IGBC has certified 27 Iowa Breweries, along with many more receiving some degree of assistance from the program. “The amount of passion that Iowa breweries have regarding environmental stewardship is great to see,” says IGBC student intern Grant Helle.  “It is exciting to watch the innovations and improvements that are happening in Iowa’s craft beer industry, and we cannot wait to see this more widely adopted across the country moving forward.”

The goal for the Sustainable Brewing Society is to continue bringing a platform for positive industry change.  With the Iowa Green Brewery Certification Program allowing brewers in the state of Iowa to become more educated on a range of environmental topics and sustainable implementations, the objective of the SBS is to expand this movement even further, hopefully to a national level!


For more information on the Iowa Green Brewery Certification, click here

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