As we dive into the weekend we continue to celebrate Earth Day. This week we shine light on people and organizations that are helping to sustain our environment every single day. Today we acknowledge Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for their efforts in creating highly sustainable business practices.
From its humble roots as a homebrew shop, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was founded in 1980 by Ken Grossman, and has grown tremendously since. Even though the business has grown to include two large brewing plants, with one in California and one in North Carolina, it still strives in its efforts to protect the environment:
“In the early days, there was no such thing as small-scale brewing equipment. Everything we used was built or repurposed for the brewery. Back then, “reduce, reuse, recycle” wasn’t a catchphrase, but a business model. This hardscrabble ethos and our roots in Northern California built a deeply felt belief toward stewardship and helped solidify our commitment to the environment.” – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Brewing beer uses a lot of energy, but Sierra Nevada manages to minimize their energy use by creating their own energy. They use over 10,000 solar panels and four co-generation hydrogen fuel cells to produce over half of their total electricity use on site. In addition, the brewery’s organic waste is converted into compost, which is used to fertilize the company’s own organic hop and barley fields. The brewery uses the rest of the spent grain, hops, and yeast for cattle feed on local farms. Sierra Nevada even coverts its waste vegetable oil from their on-site restaurants into bio-diesel to power their trucks! As a result of all these measures, the company recycles and composts 99.8% of their total solid waste.
Furthermore, the brewery captures, filters, and compresses carbon dioxide produced from fermentation, for reuse around the brewery, such as in propelling beer in draught systems, pressurizing tanks, and preparing the bottles for filling. And as a vital resource and one of the main ingredients in beer, water usage is managed very carefully at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.:
“We’re working to bring our water usage down to historic lows in the brewing industry. We built an on-site water purification facility that takes effluent water from the brewery and pre-treats it before sending it to the municipal water treatment facility. In turn, we collect the biogas that is produced during purification and use that as energy for the boilers used in the brewing process.” – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Due to all their efforts in aiming to be greener every day, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has received many awards from several environmental associations. Their most recent achievement was becoming the first production brewery in the U.S to receive Platinum LEED certification. To find out more about how Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. stays committed to saving the planet every day, visit wwww.sierranevada.com/brewery/about-us/sustainability