Prior to living in Seattle, New Orleans is where I called home. I think it is safe to say that New Orleans is one of the least environmentally conscious of the larger American cities.
In all fairness to this wonderful city, while I was living there (2005-2007), she was going through a rough patch…to say the least. Now, after living in Seattle for three years, I have embraced the green way of life (well, green for me anyway). I don’t own a car; that is right, I bike and bus it EVERYWHERE.
The thought of placing a glass bottle or can in the garbage makes me ill and I even have thoughts of composting…its a journey, not a destination, OK!
In honor of Earth Day which is this Thursday, April 22, I present to you an article focusing on not only those environmentally conscious breweries but what you can do and drink to celebrate our lovely planet. Right away, New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO), Fremont Brewing Co. (Seattle, WA) and 21st Amendment Brewing Co. (San Fransisco, CA) come to mind.
New Belgium aims to reduce their carbon footprint by 25% by utilizing various methods before, during and after the brewing process. For example, New Belgium invested in a more efficient brew kettle called Steinecker’s Merlin. This brew kettle is deemed more efficient than standard brew kettles because it heats thin sheets of wort rather than the whole kettle at once. Going above and beyond, in 1999, New Belgium became the largest private consumer of wind-power electricity at that time and the first wind-powered brewery.
Throughout the brewery, green building practices have been implemented. From their website:
Lighting. We take full advantage of the more than 360 days of sunshine in Fort Collins by using UV blocking windows, sun-tubes, and light shelves. HVAC. Using evaporative coolers, we can condition our 55,000 square foot packaging hall with no compressors, using much less energy. Materials. In our new packaging hall, the interior wood is beetle kill pine. Summit County, CO, anticipates that mountain pine beetles will kill 98% of their lodgepole pines. So, we’re giving these fallen trees another life.
New Belgium is a model business and an amazing brewery. So next time you drink a Ranger IPA or a Love, remember its all for the good of the planet. How’s that for justified drinking?
Moving right along to 21st Amendment, home of beer in a can. Microbrews in a can?!?!?!?!? Yes sir and its a growing trend. 21st brews three beers that call the can home: Brew Free or Die IPA, Hell or High Watermelon and the newest of the bunch, Monk’s Blood. Just to throw some numbers your way, we are going to look at the environmental impact of packaging your beer in a can v. a bottle.
To package beer in glass bottles, you are using more than twice the amount of H2O compared to a can. In the end, the energy savings that accumulate when you recycle a ton of aluminum are far greater than they are for glass—96 percent vs. a mere 26.5 percent. 21st Amendment dares to be different and we applaud you for that!
Now we come full circle to Fremont Brewing Co. in Seattle, WA. Currently, Fremont does not bottle or package their beers, so you have to stop by the brewery for a tasty pint or to fill a growler.
On that note, (although I am unsure of Fremont’s future plans of distribution) draught beer’s environmental impact can be 68% lower than bottled beer, due to packaging differences. Although picking up a six pack is generally more convenient, using recycled containers is better for the environment (shout out to Georgetown Brewing Co. who also does not bottle/package their beers).
Fremont Brewing Co. uses all organic, local ingredients and used brewing equipment. They also focus on energy conservation through increasing natural light through expanded windows and the placement of white walls; exchanging 400 watt halide lights to fluorescent lighting reducing consumption by approximately 50%; and utilizing processed heat waste (from the equipment) to heat the space, instead of using gas blowers.
For more information of how Fremont Brewing is saving our ever endangered environment while brewing delicious beer, click here!
So what to do on Thursday April 22, 2010 to celebrate beer? Indulge in a beer from an environmentally conscious brewery; fill a growler instead of buying bottles; drink in the dark with the help of some candles and think about what you can do to help save the environment!
Events to consider for Earth Day?
Join Beermongers in Portland, OR for their Earth Day Party! They will have information about and examples of Tropical Salvage furniture including our new bar. Information about re-usable bottles such as Captured by Porches, and cans such as Fearless will be provided. New Belgium will host a special tasting event from 4pm to 6pm including a unique draft beer and Free samples.
Stop by Hop Cat in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 8PM for their Lights Out Party where you can enjoy beers by candlelight. environmentally friendly AND romantic!
HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!!
NOTE: Home brewing can reduce the environmental impact of beer via less packaging and transportation! Do it.