The craft beer industry has been growing rapidly, but so has the concern about its environmental impact. Breweries of all sizes can take steps to become more eco-friendly by adopting sustainable brewing practices. From conserving water to using energy-efficient equipment and reducing waste, let’s explore the key strategies that can help breweries reduce their environmental footprint.
Brewing consumes a significant amount of water. They can cut their water usage with:
- Closed-Loop Systems: Reusing treated wastewater in various brewing processes.
- Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting and storing rainwater for non-brewing purposes.
- Energy Efficiency
Reducing energy consumption by:
- Install Solar Panels: Harness solar energy to power the brewery.
- Use Heat Recovery Systems: Reuse heat generated in brewing processes.
- Adopt LED Lighting: Reduce energy use and extend bulb life.
- Waste Reduction
New Belgium Brewing, a renowned craft brewery, utilises heat exchangers in its brewing processes to enhance energy efficiency and temperature control. This commitment to efficient heat exchange practices aligns with the brewery’s focus on sustainability and high-quality craft beer production.
Reducing waste by:
- Repurpose Spent Grain: Collaborate with local farmers for animal feed or fertiliser. Have you heard of Rutherford & Meyer Kiwi’s crackers made out of recycled beer grains? Not only are they a tasty snack, but have been named among the world’s top 50 healthy snacks.
- Choose Eco-Friendly Packaging: Opt for recyclable materials.
- Implement Waste Diversion Programs: Boost recycling and composting.
- Sustainable Sourcing
Epic OneWater Brew, made from recycled shower water, serves as a unique demonstration product, highlighting the potential of water recycling in the face of extreme drought in California. https://epiccleantec.com/blog/epic-onewater-brew-recycled-beer
Consider the environmental impact of ingredients:
- Source Locally: Reduce transportation carbon emissions and support local farmers.
- Opt for Organic Ingredients: Decrease synthetic pesticide and fertiliser use.
Stone & Wood Brewery, based in Byron Bay, Australia, is on a mission for a sustainable future by supporting regenerative agriculture and promoting Certified Sustainable malt. They’re not only committed to crafting excellent beer but also to being a part of the solution for global soil degradation and its impact on the environment and communities.
- To balance carbon emissions, breweries can invest in carbon offset programs supporting environmental projects.
Gipsy Hill Brewery claims a world first in creating carbon negative beers, based on regenerative farming, without the use of offsets.
BrewDog, based in Scotland, is leading the way in sustainability with its Lost Forest project, the largest native woodland establishment and peatland restoration effort in the UK. Covering 50 square kilometres in the Cairngorms National Park, this initiative will remove one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making BrewDog carbon negative since August 2020, with a commitment to sequestering double the carbon it emits.
By implementing these eco-friendly brewing methods, breweries can lead the way in reducing the environmental impact of the craft beer industry. They not only preserve natural resources but also inspire others to adopt sustainable practices. Let’s enjoy our favourite brews while protecting the planet for future generations.