Full Sail, New Belgium Breweries Push Sustainability

by | Jun 9, 2009

full-sailyTwo of the top national microbreweries are making visible pushes into sustainability.

Full Sail Brewing has been named one of the top 100 green companies in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine because of its efficient brewhouse, sustainable ingredients and use of renewable energy.

Full Sail’s brewery, which used reclaimed and recycled building materials in its location at the old Diamond Fruit cannery, uses energy-efficient lighting and air compressors. The brewery has adopted a four-day work week to reduce water and energy consumption by 20 percent, according to a press release.

Full Sail has reduced its consumption of water used in beer making. Most breweries consume 6-8 gallons of water to make a gallon of beer, while Full Sail uses 3.45 gallons of water for the same amount. It also operates an on-site wastewater treatment facility. To reduce carbon footprint in the sourcing operation, about 85 percent of hops and 95 percent of barley used in its beer come from Northwest farms. The brewery’s waste is returned to the farms, with spent grain and yeast used as cattle feed.

The brewer uses 100 percent recycled paperboard on all its packaging, in addition to its internal recycling efforts.

The company buys 140 blocks of Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy per month, resulting in a reduction of 168 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The company also was a founding member of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce’s Green Smart program. Learn more about Full Sail’s sustainability efforts here.

New Belgium Brewing, which makes the Fat Tire beer and has pushed sustainability at its brewery for some time, has long been associated with summer concert festival circuit.

The Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewery is pushing a message of sustainability with its involvement in the upcoming Telluride Bluegrass Festival, using the marketing theme of “Sustainable Festivation.” The bluegrass festival has purchased enough carbon offsets and renewable energy credits to make the festival carbon neutral.

To reduce waste of plastic cups, New Belgium is encouraging concert-goers to bring beer cups from past years, with an incentive to win a bicycle. The brewer also is giving attendees as eco-punchcards, reminding them to prep their homes, carpool to the festival and compost while at the festival. The festival will hand out compostable bags to promote compost and recycling to campers. There is a contest for the most sustainable campsite.

Other microbrews are engaged in sustainability efforts.

For instance, E-Fuel Corp. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. are working together to produce ethanol from discarded beer yeast.

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