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HiHO Brewing Co. Leans on Community to Establish Sustainability

HiHO Brewing Co., a craft brewery and restaurant located in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio is a prime example of the importance of community in catalyzing change. Waste360 recently got the opportunity to speak with HiHO Brewing Co.’s Sustainability Officer, Jamie Sipps, to hear about some of the ways the company is working towards its sustainability goals.

October 6, 2022

5 Min Read

As a growing company, maintaining sustainable habits isn’t always the easiest thing to do, however, it is important. Taking responsibility for the waste you create and your environmental impact allows a brand to develop relationships with its local community of peers and customers. 

HiHO Brewing Co., a craft brewery and restaurant located in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio seems to have cracked the code to achieving an admirable level of sustainable efforts and doing it with the help of its internal and external community.

Running a brewery involves a wide set of variables from the brewing process, brewing supplies, and packaging, to cutlery, plates, cups, and utilities. Each of these different pieces of the puzzle can be modified in different ways to bring a brewery one step closer to its sustainability goals. 

Over the past few years, HiHO Brewing has implemented several sustainability practices with the goal of reducing waste at the forefront.

Waste360 recently got the opportunity to speak with HiHO Brewing Co.’s Sustainability Officer, Jamie Sipps, to hear about some of the ways the company has kept on track with its goal.

“I started out part-time as a bartender and I've kind of worked my way up. I also have a Bachelor of Science and Environmental Chemistry that I got previous to working here, so I've been our sustainability officer” shares Sipps.

“I'm also getting my MBA in sustainable business right now.”

Sipps uses her background and studies in environmental sciences and business to guide the company toward its green goals.

One thing Sipps pinpointed as a primary objective of HiHO is reducing their solid waste. 

The company has implemented several systems to do this, a large one being its partnership with a group called Lets Grow Akron which is a nonprofit community garden organization.

“We've been composting all of our vegan food scraps and a lot of our paper products such as paper plates, napkins, and compostable silverware with them for about three years now.”

Beginning their partnership together in 2019, the collaboration has allowed HiHO Brewing to not only divert food waste but also their compostable tableware; which is another sustainability-oriented change the company made in recent years.

As COVID struck, the company began using disposable plates and silverware to provide comfort and safety for its employees. This shift was wasteful, setting them back in regard to their target of waste reduction, however, it was necessary due to the extenuating circumstances.

In order to counteract this, the company began utilizing compostable plates and cutlery. These products were also accepted by Let's Grow Akron, which allowed them to keep their waste levels as low as possible.

In 2021 alone, the partnership has allowed the company to divert approximately two thousand pounds of waste.

Another partnership that has allowed the brewery to reduce its solid waste is with local farmers. The company has adopted a practice called waste side lining, which refers to the process of collecting large portions of spent grain and other waste from the brewing process and setting it aside for disposal.

This spent wheat and grain is then used by the farmers as animal feed.

“What they do is they come to pick the waste up like once or twice a week, and it's not anything that we can utilize anymore, so they integrate it into the cattle feed” explains Sipps.

Thanks to these two partnerships, HiHO Brewery has been able to eliminate a majority of its solid waste.

Another area HiHO has looked into reducing its waste is by examining its relationship with utilities. The company has gotten creative with its use of electricity and water.

Sipps says the company has been able to cut down on electricity costs by paying attention to the use of lighting and utilizing heat from the brewing process as opposed to using the heating and ventilation system. 

Another utility the brewery has managed to cut down on is water by recycling water in the beer cooling process.

As beer is being made, it is important that its temperature is regulated to keep its flavor accurate. In order to accomplish this, glycol hoses with cool water are run alongside the beer to keep it cool for accurate flavor, which can create a lot of wastewater.

At HiHO Brewing Inc. they make a conscious effort to recycle the cool water through the glycol hoses so there isn’t an excessive amount of wastewater.

“That's one thing that our owner and head brewer, Jon, has been making sure to do.”

With a long tradition of green practices established by the founders, members of the local community have become accustomed to all of the efforts HiHO and its employees put towards sustainability.

According to Sipps, the support the company receives for its green initiatives is telling of the kinds of customers it draws in.

“It's kind of like which came first; the chicken or the egg?” she says.

With the type of supporters, HiHO is able to attract, Sipps likes to lean into them to further promote sustainability across the whole community by hosting cleanup events.

“You can be passively involved in ‘sustainable efforts’ by coming and drinking our beer, right? You can talk with your dollars by purchasing the beer, but the community cleanups are more involved. We're asking them to do a public service and in return, they get like a dollar off a pint of beer.”

Supporting sustainability from within and promoting it across the community, HiHO Brewing Co. is constantly pushing the limits of what it means to be a sustainable small brand. This brewery has proven that true sustainability depends on everyone within a community; inside and out.

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