Sustainable Brewing Is Not Just A Good Idea – It’s Happening All Around The Country

Going solar can vastly improve your energy bills.


The two things that drive my professional career – sustainability and brewing. As a green building attorney, I have spent my entire career following building that trends that make buildings more efficient, more effective and cleaner. The past few years have shown great examples of the integration of green building and brewing. Needless to say – I’m pretty excited about it.


If you don’t think that sustainable brewing is here yet, check out this short film over at the Beer Activist. Breweries like DC Brau, the featured brewer in the video, are becoming more energy and recycling conscious. Brewers are now condensing steam, reusing cooling water, using graywater for cleanup, collecting rainwater, and turning to solar thermal to heat their kettles.


One of the best examples of green brewing is Brewery Vivant, the assumed first ever LEED-Certified brewery. Vivant is located in Grand Rapids, MI and not only purchased Renewable Energy Credits to replace energy it consumes, but also follows a number of smart and sustainable business practices in running it’s operation. Utilizing low-travel local materials and packaging beer in cans are just two of the ways that Vivant is reducing it’s carbon footprint.


Here in Seattle, Big Al Brewing and Hales Ales have each invested in solar thermal to heat their breweries. Each of the installs were performed by Seattle’s Net Zero Impact and feature similar environmental benefits. Energy incentives subsidized the initial investment in the system, which will pay itself off in roughly 2.5 years.


Going green is not hard. From small breweries like Vivant to large craft brewers like New Belgium and Abita (each have industry-leading green brewing elements), we are seeing more devotion to saving water and finding affordable energy.


Brewers in planning? Consider some of these devices in your business plan and talk to your attorney about whether incentives might be available to you.





3 thoughts on “Sustainable Brewing Is Not Just A Good Idea – It’s Happening All Around The Country

  1. My organic beer vision statement in part reads: “one need not suffer to be green.” I applaud brewers making strides here, but altruism is not required.

    al·tru·ism/ˈaltro͞oˌizəm/ (Noun) Behavior of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.

    An owner need only care enough in long term profit to invest now with a reasonable payback periods.

    Not only the beer industry, but the entire country is moving to becoming more sustainable as a hedge against energy costs. The technology companies that bring us these wonderful sustainable solutions did so for one reason–it was profitable for them and their customers.

    Bottom line, sustainable practices makes good business sense The faux altruism in marketing will one day seem as gimmicky as “triple hopped” and “frost brewed” in some big brewer’s advertisements.


  2. The green movement has been building for years now and most of the world has an idea that green is the way to go. As more people incorporate the qualities of being green to every facet of their life, the penetration has been noticeable. For business especially, there has been green ideas and actions that they have done to reduce energy costs and help the environment including this brewery.

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