When in Copenhagen: Environmentally Friendly Beers

19 12 2009

This week, the world’s leaders were in Copenhagen, Denmark. They were trying to figure out a deal that would help the nations cut down on their Carbon Dioxide (CO2). While a deal has been struck, there are differing opinions on the potential successes.

In the mean time, you can do your part by drinking these environmentally friendly beers. Here is a list of the 10 most enviornmentally friendly breweries (as judged by me.)

10. Full Sail Brewing– Hood River, OR- Full Sail was able to half its water usage as compared to the industry average. They have recently signed a contract to offset their CO2 emmisions through wind farms.

9. Otter Creek Brewing– Burlington, VT- This brewery uses local and organic malts and hops for their Wolavers line of beer. Each beer in their Farmers series is named after the farmer who grew the ingredients.

8. Peak Organic/Allagash Brewing Company– Portland, ME- Peak is the organic line of beers run by Allagash Brewing, a brewery run off of 100% wind power.

7. Anderson Valley Brewing Co.-Boonville, CA – Their brewery is 100% solar powered (just as it says on their bottle caps) and all their brewing equipment is reused from older breweries in Germany.

6. Odell’s Brewing Co.-Ft. Collins, CO- Bottles in 100% recycled glass and their six packs are packaged in 100% recycled cardboard. They have offset all their electricity use. And only run their coolers during off-peak hours.

Top 5 after the Jump

Photo Credit: Jon's Pics Creative Commons

5. Coors Brewing Company– Golden, CO- It may come as a surprise to many to see Coors on this list. After all, Coors is a giant brewery. And the Coors family was no friend to progressive causes. But they have been a long supporter of environmental stewardship. Coors was the first brewery to offer a recyclable can made of aluminum. They were also the first brewery to offer a redemption value. Customers got a penny for every can they returned. Since the Coors family sold the company a few years back, they have become a figurehead in responsible brewing practices. Spent grains are sold to local ranchers as a cheap and all grain feed for cows and sheep. And ethanol, a natural byproduct of brewing, is sold as bio diesel by Coors. During the 2008 DNC in Denver, 100% of the official cars were run by ethenol donated by Coors.

Photo Credit: Sonnett Creative Commons

4. Great Lakes Brewing Co.– Cleavland, OH- Great Lakes is an innovator in how businesses can stay green but also help the greater community thrive at the same time. They recently took on a “Zero Waste” initiative to make sure any waste in the brewing process could be recycled or reused. All of the byproducts are used within house or to support local businesses, schools, or community gardens through their compost and vermiculture facility. Their delivery trucks all run off of recycled vegetable oil from their tap room and other local businesses.

Photo Credit: rysac1 Creative Commons

3. Sierra Nevada- Chico, CA- Beginning last year, Sierra Nevada runs its whole operation off of solar power. They are the owners of one of the largest private solar panel displays and are at least 100% self-sufficient. And at best, they are selling electricity back to the energy company. In 2007, they diverted almost 99% of their waste product from the landfill by reducing, reusing and recycling their waste. They use algae to convert their waste water, spent grains and used vegetable oil from their taproom into bio diesel but primarily use their own rail facility to truck in their barley and out their beer.

Photo Credit: matthurst Creative Commons

2. Brooklyn Brewery– New York City, NY- Brooklyn Brewing company is based in a refurbished 19th century brewery. They have retrofit it to be LEED certified and their whole works are 100% wind powered.They also sell their spent grains to cattle ranchers in New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Colorado Luis Creative Commons

1. New Belgium- Ft. Collins, CO- It should come to no surprise that the most environmentally friendly brewery is New Belgium. It tops all the lists of environmentally sustainable breweries. Their facility was one of the first to be LEED certified. It is solar powered. Their brew kettles are powered from methane collected from composted spent grains. They have a CO2 recapturing system to carbonate their beer. And their trucks are fed with bio diesel from algae. Every employee is given a bike on their one year anniversary so very few people actually drive to work. And each year, they sponsor a bike ride in several American cities called “The Tour de Fat.”

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