My readers know that I exercise, run, and practice yoga. There is nothing better than a good beer after all of this work. I recently had a Chocolate-Cherry Stout produced by the Firestone Walker Brewing Company from the central coast of California. The beer was great, and it also got me thinking about beer industry sustainable water efforts.

Really, what can be better than a dark chocolate and cherry flavor combo? The result from Firestone Walker is a quintessential seasonal stout offering subtle fruit and cocoa flavor with dark-roasted malt complexity and a rich, velvety mouthfeel. 

But, that’s enough about the beer. I was happy to learn that besides the quality of the beer, Firestone Walker focuses on sustainability. They have a relentless drive to conserve water, energy, and materials. They believe that their pursuit of the perfect beer must be underscored by a passion for minimizing environmental impacts for “brewing for tomorrow.” 

How do they do it?

First, their commitment to clean, renewable brewing begins with how they craft their beer. As they outline on their sustainability page of their website: Firestone Walker uses a 9.7-acre solar array with the following benefits:  

  • 3,000 metric tons of carbon emissions are offset annually 
  • 20% of the brewhouse’s energy use is generated by kettle steam recovery
  • Biogas is transformed into usable energy via combined heat-power microturbines

Second, they divert as much waste as possible through recycling, reuse, and repurposing of excess material and equipment. Additionally:

  • 90% of brewing grains are delivered in bulk to eliminate packaging waste
  • 10,000 tons of spent grains are recovered and fed to local livestock each year
  • The brewery “Boneyard” repurposes old equipment, and all excess cardboard, glass, and aluminum is recycled

Beer Industry Sustainable Water Efforts

Finally, they are keeping up with beer industry sustainable water efforts. Water is one of the most precious resources in California. It doesn’t help any that the much of the state “has received less than half of its average annual precipitation to date.” Plus, 2020 was a very dry Water Year .

Firestone views “water conservation as a vital responsibility for the health of the California environment and communities.” This is reflected in its:

  • 5 million gallons of water saved annually through local reservoir sourcing
  • 500,000 gallons of water recycled annually through custom water reuse systems
  • 35 million gallons of process water treated annually on site and returned to the local aquifer

I am sure that other craft brewers use similar techniques for sustainable producing for beer. I just happened to get thinking about it while enjoying my chocolate cherry stout. Investigate your local brewer and let me know your favorite. Maybe we can enjoy a cold one together and come up with sustainable solutions for your industry too.