Green Beer Comes in Many Shades

What’s better than a green beer on St Patrick’s Day? How about green beer the other 364 days of the year!

Beer has been going green since Anheuser-Busch started recycling their leftover grain and using it for cattle feed back in 1899. It’s a process that continues at many breweries today. But, some brewmasters are taking the concept of environmental stewardship even farther with sustainable practices that reduce waste, increase efficiency, and overall produce a tasty brew that is just a deeper shade of green. Relax with a green beer, and you truly can drink responsibly.

New Belgium – The colorado-based maker of Fat Tire beer, is using renewable resources to live lean. In 1999, New Belgium became the largest private consumer of wind-power electricity at that time and the first wind-powered brewery. Since that time the beer makers have continued to increase efficiency in their brewing process to cutback on power. They use sun-tubes, light shelves and UV-blocking windows to make the most of natural light. They even have goals for the future, such as reducing their carbon footprint by 25% and increasing their landfill diversion rate from 90% to 95%!

green-beerBrooklyn Brewery – The eco-friendly beer-maker is completely 100% powered by wind-generated electricity. They were the first company in NYC to make the switch back in September, 2003. It takes 20 wind turbines to create the juice necessary for the brewery and company headquarters to run. Kudos the Brooklyn Brewery. Their commitment to sustainable energy stop 335,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.

Full Sail Brewing Company – This green beer company has been recognized by the state of Oregon for their sustainability efforts. In addition to sourcing the majority of ingredients from local farms, Full Sail has taken steps to reduce their energy consumption. They use energy efficient machinery, a short work week, and wind power because, as they so eloquently put it, “Let’s face it — without this heavenly environment, there would be no heavenly brews.”

Sierra Nevada – This beer company has been going green since they opened for business nearly 30 years ago. The company creates its own biodiesel to power their fleet of delivery trucks and diverts 98% of their waste from the landfill. They use almost half the water of most breweries and recover and recycle the CO2 produced during the fermentation process. In fact, every year since 2001 these green brewmasters have been recognized by the state of California for their Waste Reduction Program. Sierra Nevada’s most recent green coup? Solar. Their roof-top panels completed last year are one of the largest private solar arrays in the country.

Great lakes Brewing Company – Not only does this environmentally-conscious beer maker use natural light to cut electricity, they also use the natural cold of Cleveland, Ohio to cool their beer during winter. With a delivery truck that runs on biodiesel and recycled-content packaging, Great Lakes Brewing is working to achieve a “sustainable, yet profitable, business.”

Looking for a beer that’s better for the planet and better for health? Then keep an eye out for our next green beer article when we take a look at Organic Beer.

For other evnironementally responsible drinking options check out this post on Fair Trade Wine.

About Barbara Holbrook

Barbara lives in Southern California where she writes about technology, design and smart ways to go green.

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