Whether it is a summer cookout or a cold winter’s night, there is something refreshing about grabbing a beer to celebrate any occasion. As of 2012, Americans of drinking age were responsible for consuming 6.3 billion gallons of beer alone. Each of those 6.3 billion gallons took water to develop, electricity to brew, and transportation to reach consumers each day and breweries have become aware of the toll it can take on our environment.
Brewery Climate Declaration
In 2013, Ceres launched the Climate Declaration in hopes of bringing policymakers on board with fighting that climate change that is currently occurring in our world. Stemming from this initial campaign came the Brewery Climate Declaration which joined together breweries in hopes of tackling the major environmental impacts of their day to day business activities. Since the signing, breweries all over are taking the appropriate measures to reduce greenhouse gas and transportation emissions, minimize water waste, and look at alternative methods of packing to make even the slightest difference on the environment.
Pittsburgh Catching On
Here in Pittsburgh, we do have a few local breweries that are making a point to change their brewing practices so we can continue to enjoy their product while reducing the carbon footprint.
Rivertowne Brewing, with four restaurants and a brewery, boasts those cute cans with the fish themed to match the brew and are easily recognizable. If you take a look at the website, it appears those cans are more than just a cool addition to a clever name.
It is vastly more expensive to can than it is to bottle. However, canning is better for the environment and freshness of the product. At Rivertowne Brewing our mission is to brew quality, craft beer that embodies our commitment to using the freshest ingredients, state of the art brewing processes and sustainable packaging.
Makes those funny fish even cooler, right?
Hop Farm Brewing Co.
Hop Farm Brewing, located in Lawrenceville, also has a similar approach to the benefits of sending their product out in cans and offer an impressive amount of information regarding just how much this process helps our goal.
Americans recycled nearly 55.5 billion aluminum cans last year, increasing the recycling rate to 57.4 percent – its highest level since 2000. The average aluminum can is made from 68 percent total recycled content, the highest of any beverage container. Cans don’t shatter and are among the lightest beverage packages to transport, reducing their environmental footprint. Making cans from recycled aluminum takes 95 percent less energy than using new metal or recycled glass.
East End Brewing Company
East End Brewing Company also takes a unique approach by looking at its entire business model and adjusting it to help the environmental cause as much as possible. If you take a peek at their website, you will see that there is a great emphasis on reducing transportation costs by making supply purchases locally, minimizing energy costs by purchasing used equipment, and monitoring waste from all parts of the brewing process.
One thing I’m pretty excited about is the fact that this brewery generates hardly any solid waste that goes to a landfill. There is no dumpster at East End Brewing. Instead, I carry a kitchen-sized bag of trash to the curb about once every 3 or 4 weeks. Where does it all go? Well, so far, here’s where I’ve been sending it: Spent grain, yeast, and spent hops and trub.
Best part about it? Scott always seems to have a plan in place to make sure anything that can be reused is passed along.
Are You a Local Brewer?
Do you brew your own beer and want to adopt more sustainable practices? Take a look at the Brewer Association’s manuals here to see how you can become more environmentally friendly while still enjoying a cold one!