Sustainable Breweries & Wineries
De Bortoli Wines – Australia
De Bortoli Wines, a fourth-generation family wine company with four winery sites throughout Australia, has a goal of becoming Australia’s first zero waste winery. To date, De Bortoli has invested more than $15 million to implement innovative sustainability initiatives, such as creating composting systems for grape skins, upgrading to greener filtration pumps, adding solar panels to its Bilbul location and switching over to better refrigeration systems and knock-down packaging. In addition to those efforts, the company also stores its wastewater to later irrigate crops.
Brewery Vivant – Grand Rapids, Michigan
When it comes to sustainability, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Brewery Vivant sets goals and follows through with them.
Currently, 90 percent of the brewery’s purchases are made within 250 miles of its location, 75 percent of which are made from a Michigan business; 50 percent of its food inputs and 25 percent of its beer inputs are within 250 miles of its location; approximately 20 percent of energy onsite is renewable energy; and 10 percent of food served is grown at the Vivant farm. A few weeks ago, the brewery installed 192 solar panels on its rooftop, making it the largest solar-producing brewery in Michigan. As an avid composter and recycler, the brewery composted more than 12,500 cubic feet and saved over 18,000 cans by refilling reusable growlers in 2015.
Fetzer Vineyards – Hopland, California
By recycling, reusing and composting used materials like grape skins, stems and seeds, Hopland, Calif.-based Fetzer Vineyards has diverted more than 97 percent of its waste from landfill since 1990. In 1999, Fetzer became the first California winery to operate on 100 percent renewable waste. In 2014, the winery diverted 98.5 percent of its waste from landfill and became the first winery certified Zero Waste by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. In 2015, the winery upped its diversion rate to 99.1 percent. Now, Fetzer is working toward its goal of becoming Net Positive by 2030.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Cleveland
Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland operates on a “take, make, remake” moto. The brewery follows that moto by developing programs in the areas of water, energy efficiency, renewable energy, food and farming. Great Lakes also finds new homes for its spent grain, which can be used as dairy feed, feed on small family farms, products served in the brewpub and compost on urban farms. In addition to those efforts, the brewery’s low-fill beers are transformed into sauces, ice creams, soups, sausage and soap. Great Lakes is also an avid recycler of cardboard, pallet wrap and bands, glass, paper, scrap metal and French fry oil, which is used to fuel its Fatty Wagon, an energy-efficient shuttle that transports brewery guests to downtown sporting events.
Mavericks Brewing – Half Moon Bay, California
New Belgium Brewing – Ft. Collins, Colorado
Northern Monk Brew Co. – Leeds, U.K.
The Real Junk Food Project Founder Adam Smith joined forced with Northern Monk Brew Co. Founder Russell Bisset to create what could be the world’s first zero waste beer. Wasted, a pear farmhouse ale with notes of vanilla and pears and a crisp, dry finish, is made entirely from ingredients that have been diverted from landfill, including overripe pears, croissants and brioche. The brewery’s spent hops are donated to a local farm to use as fertilizer, the spent grain is donated to a local worm and cattle farm for feed, the champagne yeast is reused and the beer’s glass bottle is 100 percent recyclable.
ReGrained – San Francisco
ReGrained, a San Francisco-based food startup that upcycles spent grain from breweries, was conceived by homebrewing hobbyists Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz. The duo quickly discovered their spent grain problem and decided to take action to divert that spent grain from landfill. Together, they developed two edible bars: Honey Almond IPA Bar and Chocolate Coffee Stout Bar. The Honey Almond IPA Bar is comprised of pale spent grain sourced from a local brewery, honey, almonds, oats and cinnamon, while the Chocolate Coffee Stout Bar contains dark spent grain sourced from a local brewery, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee. ReGrained has partnerships with three breweries in San Francisco and is looking to become the upcycling solution for breweries across the country.
Rise & Win Brewing – Kamikatsu, Japan
Rise & Win Brewing, an eco-conscious brewery, is a perfect match for Kamikatsu, Japan, because the town abides by a strict zero waste policy that requires trash to be sorted into approximately three dozen different bins. The brewery is built heavily from waste materials from the local garbage station and the site’s former building, and it even includes fixtures, fittings and furniture from deserted homes. Sticking to its zero waste mindset, Rise & Win reuses the peels of yukou to add a flavor of Leuven White to its beer, processes the byproducts of malt produced during beer production into a power to make confections like granola and uses the byproducts of malt and hops for raw materials for organic fertilizers.
Saltwater Brewery – Delray Beach, Florida
In an effort to combat the issue of plastic contamination in the Earth's bodies of water, Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla., has created edible six-pack rings.
These six-pack rings are comprised of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewery's brewing process, making them 100 percent biodegradable and edible. This innovative product can safely be eaten by animals if the product ends up in a body of water.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Chico, California, and Mills River, North Carolina
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s Chino, Calif., brewery has a Platinum certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, and now its Mills River, N.C., brewery has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status for its commitment to environmental sustainability and forward-thinking practices. Some of these practices include recycling, reuse and HotRot composting, which have helped them divert approximately 99.8 percent of solid waste from landfill each year. Sierra Nevada also has water and biogas recovery programs, as well as one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in the U.S. In addition to those efforts, the brewery also recently completed an overhaul of its keg line, which is slated to save approximately 750,000 gallons of water annually.
Toast Pale Ale – London
Many heel ends of bread loaves (which are totally edible and can be used for things other than sandwiches) find themselves at the bottom of a garbage bin once the rest of the loaf is gone. Food activist Tristram Stuart teamed with London-based Hackney Brewery Cofounder Jon Swain and the Brussels Beer Project to create a beer that would save this leftover bread from going to waste. Toast Ale, a well-balanced, full-bodied beer with a toasty malty and caramel finish and the first British beer to be made with surplus bread from bakeries, uses bread in place of grains, which ultimately helps tackle the problem of bread waste in the U.K. Currently, the U.K. wastes approximately 15 million tonnes of food annually, with bread being the most wasted product. Stuart and his team are now working on setting up local bakeries with breweries in their area to make regional variations of Toast.