Sierra Nevada Beer could be the greenest beer in the world; from start to finish sustainability is the keystone of their production.
Let’s start with energy;
Sierra Nevada owns one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in the US with over 10,000 solar panels providing 20% of the brewery’s energy needs. They are also the only brewery to own hydrogen fuel cells producing another 40% of the brewery’s energy needs.
As well as energy recovery systems, the brewery has a small scale biodiesel processor that uses old cooking oil from the brewery’s restaurant to power their delivery trucks. They have an agreement with a local ethanol company to produce high scale ethanol fuel from discarded yeast. There are also input charging stations for electric cars which can be used free of charge for anyone visiting the brewery.
Sierra Nevada Beer are also masters at reusing and recycling. Over 99% of solid waste is diverted from landfill. The brewery owns a hot composting system which converts much of the waste into organic compost which is then used on the estate hop field, barley field, restaurant garden, and employee garden. Spent grain is sold to local cattle ranchers for livestock feed; spent water is sent to the brewery’s own water treatment plant, where it is reused, mainly as drip irrigation for its fields.
Carbon dioxide gas produced during brewing is captured and bottled (most brewers just vent it). The gas is then donated to local soda pop manufacturer for carbonating their products.
The company also closely looked at the transport emissions and installed a private section of railway to deliver and transport their supplies. As much of their beer is consumed on the east coast they use their own ship fleet which cuts down on emissions by 50% when compared to truck delivery.
And the final icing on our green cake? Sierra Nevada is one of largest buyers of organic hops.
I think after all this reading you deserve a nice, cold beer. I recommend Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale for a hot sunny day. Drink anyone?
* Neither Green Optimistic or the author was paid for this article. The author stumbled upon Sierra Nevada’s green practices and thought it deserved a writeup!