Saving the Planet, One Beer at a Time
Craft breweries across the country have long been paying attention to sustainability in their operations. When breweries like New Belgium in Colorado go above and beyond to reduce water and energy usage and mitigate their waste, it sets a great example for breweries to follow their lead and learn best practices from them. Flagstaff’s Historic Brewing Company is one of our home-grown beer makers that is committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations, and they are taking bold and creative steps to do so. Who knew that you could save the world by making beer?
Ten ways that Historic Brewing is incorporating sustainability:
- They seek advice. Historic is working with a graduate student studying climate science and solutions at Northern Arizona University to better understand the impacts their production facility has on the environment. By seeking input from an outside source, Historic is demonstrating they are taking their impacts seriously.
- They know their gases. Many of the processes that take place in making beer have direct and indirect impacts on the climate by emitting greenhouse gases. By completing a greenhouse gas assessment, Historic was able to calculate exactly how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases each process emits to the atmosphere. This allows them to know the magnitude of their impacts and prioritize which processes to target first when improving their environmental performance.
- They feed animals. Historic donates the spent grain from the brewing process to a local farmer in northern Arizona to use as cattle feed, keeping it out of the landfill where it generates harmful methane gas emissions. Donating spent grain to feed livestock creates a win-win-win for the brewery, farmer, and the environment.
- They spread the eco-love to their staff. Historic’s owners make sure that all of their employees “walk the walk” so that they can increase engagement and awareness throughout their staff. Information on their sustainability initiatives are included in new hire packets and the staff has a solid understanding of these initiatives. A simple step they implemented is encouraging staff to practice sustainability by using reusable water and coffee cups throughout the day, rather than disposable ones.
- They get crafty. Historic Brewing Company has a noticeable artistic vibe, and they use this quality to incorporate creative strategies for paper reduction. One way they are doing this is by cutting up their old paper menus and reusing them as coasters. This is a simple way to reduce paper use and waste that also allows the company to reduce costs on new coasters.
- They pay attention to the material stuff. Coasters aren’t the only thing that Historic uses repurposed materials for. The wooden wall in the Historic Barrel + Bottle House is made from old pallets and the wood in their tables is reclaimed from a dismantled barn. Not only is it great to see these items finding a second life, but they are beautiful materials that add to the aesthetic of the business. Historic does not use plastic bags and has started canning wine, as metal cans are more easily recycled.
- They recycle. It can take extra effort (and sometimes extra cost) to dispose of household hazardous materials and electronic waste in a safe, responsible way. Historic takes the extra step to bring these materials to designated recycling centers. They make sure it happens by having a place at their facility to store discarded materials until they can be brought to the appropriate recyclers. They also have co-mingled recycling at both the brewing facility and the Barrel + Bottle House, which diverts cardboard, paper and metals from the landfill.
8. They work together. Some of the biggest impacts on the climate come from vehicles. For Historic and other Flagstaff breweries, this includes not only the distribution of their beer, but also the transportation to get the materials they need into their production facility. One way that Historic has helped reduce this impact is by working with other Flagstaff breweries to consolidate shipments for growlers. Instead of trucking small, frequent loads of growler glass to different breweries every day of the week, growlers are shipped all at once in large quantities and distributed to many different breweries. When small businesses collaborate, greater environmental benefits can be realized.
- They like bikes. In another push to reduce environmental impacts of transportation, Historic Brewing offers an incentive for customers to ride their bikes to the breweries, rather than drive. Biking to their brewing facility gets you $1 off a beer pint of your choice. What more incentive do you need?
- They support other local businesses. Historic Brewing Company is a champion of community. Besides working with other local businesses to divert their spent grain and consolidate shipments, Historic actively supports other local businesses with their purchasing decisions and by partnering, boosting the Flagstaff and Arizona economy. We love to see an environmentally-aware business that also practices economic sustainability by joining forces with fellow local business.