Brewing up a sustainable beer

Ever tried a green beer?

No, it’s not St. Patrick’s day! But you can make the choice for a sustainably-made beer every day.

Specialty brewers care about the community around them and preserving our resources. They have been minimizing their impact on the environment in three main ways: addressing their use of water in beer production, treating brewing by-products such as spent grain, and conserving and greening their energy use.

What makes a beer green?

1. Water Conservation

Water accounts for over 90% of beer’s content, so specialty brewers are doing their best to use water efficiently and treat wastewater.

Some examples of brewers conserving water include Granville Island Brewing, which re-uses the cooling water for their heat exchanger during processing. Alley Kat Brewing Company also captures and reuses excess water from the brewing process.

2. Treatment of brewing by-products

Beau’s Brewing Co, which makes 100% certified organic beer, takes an innovative step for the environment by providing its spent yeast and hops to a bio-digester to help power a local farm.

It’s important to consider the disposal of post-consumer waste streams. Steam Whistle Brewing’s pilsner uses a green glass bottle, which is made with 30% more glass. This means the same bottle can be washed, inspected and refilled more than 45 times—about three times more than the industry standard brown bottle.

Customers can help reduce waste too—next time you’re in the mood for beer, choose a brewer that offers refillable growlers, like Garrison Brewing in Nova Scotia.

3. Energy Efficiency

Beer production is energy intensive, from the energy used to heat water during the brewing process, to the refrigeration required in production. Breweries have started to deploy more efficient boilers and refrigeration systems to conserve energy and reduce their electricity bills.

Breweries can choose green energy to reduce their carbon footprints. They can consider installing renewable energy sources on-site, such as solar panels or wind turbines. Or, many are opting for 100% green energy with Bullfrog Power, a convenient and affordable way to choose renewable energy. Look for bullfrogpowered logos on-pack, or check out these bullfrogpowered breweries!

We spoke to Jenny Gammon, Marketing Manager at Bishop’s Cellar, one of four private beer and wine vendors in Nova Scotia. “We have proudly chosen 100% green electricity for our operations since 2013. We’re currently celebrating five years of helping to green the grid, advance the development of renewable energy projects across Canada, and ultimately create a cleaner, healthier world. Our environment is important to us and we like to support breweries who demonstrate similar values to ours,” shares Jenny.

Specialty breweries who are focused on sustainability are making a meaningful difference, helping protect our communities and planet while continuing to make great beer. So, next time you’re stocking up on beer, consider choosing a green one!