The Land-Grant Brewing Company's Sun-Grant Series is inspired by the Sun-Grant Association, a group of Land-Grant Universities that research and develop sustainable and environmentally friendly bio-based energy alternatives.
Water is essential to beer, and beer is essential to life. Without fresh, clean, easily accessible water, you wouldn’t be sipping on that citrus-packed Stiff-Arm IPA that you know and love. When thinking about sustainability and beer, it really starts with water. All those agricultural ingredients we talked about earlier? They don’t make it into that can of Greenskeeper, but that doesn’t mean they magically disappear. So in our second year of the Sun-Grant program, we took special care to develop our Water Stewardship program by working with our farming partners to turn our brewing byproduct in food for cows, chickens, and soil.
Brewing beer requires water. A lot of water. This is because the chief ingredients (hops, malts, and barley) soak up so much water in the brewing process, creating the three principles byproducts of brewing: spent grain, spent yeast, and trub (a sludgy mix of yeast and plant particulates). While these byproducts aren’t good for the city’s wastewater system, they are good for flora, fauna, and farmers.
We’ve partnered with Hoffman’s Farm & Greenhouse and Ohio State’s Waterman Farms to keep our spent grain and yeast from going down the drain, and we’re developing more methods to divert our trub as well.
SPENT YEAST + TRUB DIVERSION / WATERMAN FARMS (OSU)
One of our sustainability initiatives that we are the most proud of is our partnership with OSU’s Waterman Farms to divert our spent yeast to their James Cancer Center’s Garden of Hope,a living laboratory devoted to discovering scientifically proven and evidence-based methods to empower and inform cancer survivors and their caregivers in achieving optimal health and wellness. Started in 2017, we expanded this program to include diversion of our trub, best thought of as spent hops and left over proteins, increasing the amount of byproduct diverted by more than 135% to nearly 9,000 gallons!
SPENT GRAIN DIVERSION / HOFFMAN FARMS
While spent grain is no good for drains, it is good for cattle (read: happy cows). We’ve been working with Hoffman’s Farm & Greenhouse since we opened, and this partnership continued throughout 2018. Everyday, sometimes twice a day, they drive out to our building and pick up thousands of pounds of spent grain, and haul it back to their farm in Hilliard, OH, where it becomes a feast for many happy black angus bovine.
WATER CALENDAR 2.0
While smart diversion of our wastewater has been a great success we continue to be proud of, pursuing water efficiency continues to be a challenge. This is due largely to the fact that most water usage in brewing is actually for cleaning purposes (as a food manufacturer, we want to ensure that every crisp pint is also a germ free pint!). What this means is that the only way we can reasonably reduce our water usage efficiency without compromising our quality is by meticulously measuring our cleaning water usage. To do, we’ve tried multiple different garden water meters at several key points around our brewery. Unfortunately, the water pressure has resulted in these meters exploding on several occasions. We would need to purchase several industrial grade, sonic water meters to be able to withstand this pressure and maintain accurate measurements of our cleaning water usage, and these meters can cost several thousand dollars each. Due to the high cost of these meters, we’ve decided to hold off on purchasing these meters, focusing our efforts on reducing our emissions and our effluent, which are also our two most direct environmental impacts.