Craft beer and fly fishing are like two peas in a pod. I am sure many of you have your go-to beers and breweries but have you ever considered the impact that these breweries have on the environment and sustainability in general? These are five of the most sustainable breweries in America.
While New Belgium is scaled to a fairly large size, they have been able to maintain the title of the most sustainable brewery through a variety of sustainability initiatives. Among this long list, New Belgium is 100% employee-owned; they are a Certified B Corporation; they have ambitious environmental goals to improve waste diversion, energy intensity, and water usage; and they have philanthropic initiatives that funnel $1 per barrel of beer to nonprofits. Since 1991, they have donated more than $26.6 million to help solve the world’s most important issues.
Whether you’re a fan of Fat Tire Amber Ale, Voodoo Ranger IPA, or Dayblazer EasyGoing Ale, you know that New Belgium has established itself as a company that not only makes great beer but also does right by the planet.
Sierra Nevada has focused on sustainability since the brewery began in 1980. Over the decades, Sierra Nevada has passed up chances to brew more easily and cheaply in an effort to not shortchange their values or the environment. Sierra Nevada is a family-owned and operated company that has focused heavily on improving the environmental impact of both of their brewery locations. Their interactive maps are a great tool for learning more about how they are reducing, reusing, and recycling within their brewing system.
Sierra Nevada also is focusing its efforts on their Take Back Our Trails Initiative. This campaign attempts to support outdoor recreation through the restoration and upkeep of trails and rivers.
Located in Bellingham, WA, Aslan Brewing Co. makes the shortlist of sustainable breweries. Their defining features include serving 100% USDA Certified Organic beer, being a Certified B Corporation, and having a strong social commitment to their local community. When you walk into the taproom, you will immediately notice that this place is a community hub. Other than serving up local and seasonal cuisines with an array of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, they go above and beyond by staying connected to local community organizations and nonprofits by holding fundraisers and local campaigns.
Sweetwater Brewing Company is arguably “the fly fishing brewery.” This Georgia-based brewery is a conservation-minded company that supports causes directly connected with many of the fisheries we know and love. Their “Save Our Water Campaign” stems from the idea that you can’t make good beer without good water. For many years Sweetwater has been teaming up with groups like the Waterkeeper Alliance, Trout Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to help raise funds and awareness for the work these groups do. Sweetwater will continue to brew tasty beers and team up with more water-focused non-profit organizations. Keep drinking those brews and buying collab swag to help out these causes.
Odell Brewing Company strives to be better to their environment, their community, and, of course, their beer. Odell Brewing makes a conscious effort to create a more efficient brewing process for the sake of the environment and their community. They currently use just under 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of beer. (This is awesome considering that the national average is above 7 gallons!) Additionally, they have the goal of sending zero waste to the landfill by the end of 2020. (They are currently at 87% of their zero-landfill goal!)
Odell Brewing is leading the way within the brewing community, especially when it comes to water usage. Since water is so important in the process of brewing, they created BreWater— a group that brings together breweries of all sizes to discuss water use in the industry.
Next time you’re picking up some beer for a day on the water or some time on the vice, keep these breweries in mind. These are the companies that are using business for good.
Article written by Flylords Content Team Member Andrew Braker.