Beer Brewery Goes Green and We’re Not Talking about St. Patty’s Day.
With a state motto of “North to the Future,” its no surprise that the Alaskan Brewing Company (ABC) should be one of the first craft breweries in America to make leaps and bounds toward a sustainable future—by using its’ own beer as fuel.
Typically, a brewery profits from by selling its left over grain to local farmers to use as feed for their livestock; however, because of ABC’s remote location in Juneau, Alaska, there aren’t enough nearby farms for this approach to be profitable. Instead, to sustain the long trip, the brewery would first have dry out its grain using an electric dryer and then, being a city with no roads in or out, ship it out to Pacific Northwest – which would incur shipping costs and burn fuel to get it there.
All of which sounds like a tremendous waste of money, time, fuel and energy resources!
So in 2012, ABC decided to get creative and began drying their excess grain and using it as fuel, while simultaneously implementing a Spent Grain Steam Boiler. The result: these crafty craft-brewers have figured out a way to reduce, reuse and recycle their own products, cutting fossil fuel usage by more than 65% annually.
Still, this sustainable step toward using grain for fuel wasn’t the company’s first environmental endeavor. In 1998, the company was the first craft brewery to install a CO2 Reclamation System, which “captures and cleans carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of the brewing process, and uses it to package the beer and purge oxygen from holding tanks, saving money and the environment.” This system thwarts approximately one million pounds of CO2 from escaping into the air each year.
Additionally, in 2008, ABC was the first US brewery to employ a Mash Filter Press, which reduces the amount of water, hops and malt needed to make the beer while keeping up with the flavor and expectations. According to the ABC website, “In one year, the mash filter press used nearly 2 million fewer gallons of water and 6% less malt to make the same amount of beer as our traditional brewing process. This results in a savings of nearly 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year—enough for a truck to travel around the world 50 times!”
Alaskan Brewing Company offers over 20 different types of beer, from year-round to seasonal and limited editions to pilot series and is found only in 14 lucky states. To learn more about ABC’s environmentally savvy approach to brewing visit them online at alaskanbeer.com, and when you pick-up your next craft or locally brewed six-pack, check-out the brewing process involved. As you can see, there are companies that practice eco-“healthy” brewing – so while your beer gut may not thank you, at least the environment will.