Brewing beer requires large amounts of energy, agricultural ingredients, packaging material, water, and labor all to ferment and be poured in a single glass. We get hops, malts, and barley from all over the country and the world; boiling and cooling a single batch is incredibly energy intensive; at times a single barrel of beer can require up to six or seven barrels of water to make. If sustainability is best defined as meeting the needs of the present without preventing future generations from meeting their own needs, then brewing without caution to resources can be pretty unsustainable. So we asked ourselves how can we be become a better and more sustainable member of Columbus and the craft brewing industry.
From the beginning, instilling sustainable practices within the Land-Grant business model was something we wanted to do. But in the madness of launching and the small staff with which we started, a focus sustainability took a back seat to existing. Two years and thirty staff members later, we were able to begin focusing in earnest on becoming as sustainable as possible.
The diverse economy of brewing allows us to pursue many different facets of sustainability in our business: energy efficiency, water stewardship, supply chain management, waste management, wastewater diversion, etc. While becoming sustainable will require technological upgrades to our brewhouse and building, it will also require deep community partnerships and an engaged staff.
At the beginning of our third year, we surveyed our staff to find what they thought were the most important environmental changes we could affect as a company. We then aggregated these results, and came up with four major pillars of our new sustainability initiatives:
- MITIGATION OF LIFE CYCLE IMPACT
- REDUCTION OF CARBON FOOTPRINT
- WATER STEWARDSHIP
- DEEP COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
These pillars, and the initiatives within them, reflect the common themes that we seek to address in our sustainability program: reduction of greenhouse gases, closing loops, minimizing waste, decreasing our water use, removing our brewing byproduct from our wastewater, lowering the impact of our supply chain, and partnering with different farmers and environmental organizations throughout Columbus and Ohio to make a healthier, better, cleaner world.
We’ve set some aggressive goals for ourselves over the next three years, aiming to greatly reduce our impact, our waste, our emissions and become one of the most-sustainable breweries our size in the midwest. But with enough time, a caring staff, and neighbors we can rely on, we’ll be able to pull it off.
Check out our new sustainability page to learn more about the initiatives we’ve launched in 2017 and check back in the coming months as we get more programs up and running.