In recent years many craft breweries have been at the forefront of the green/sustainability/renewable movement. The Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR, an Aleheads favorite, has been providing spent hops and grain to, among others, the local Borlen Cattle Company for use as cattle feed, and then purchasing the beef for use in their brewpubs. This prevents about 6,200 tons of spent grain and hops from going to waste (and that doesn’t even include their Portland brewpub). Spent hops are also provided to local organic farmers for use as fertilizer, and spent yeast and other “high strength waste” go to fertilize local alfalfa growing operations (a staple grass grown for livestock feed), preventing them from going to the local waste water treatment plant and keeping a great deal of CO2 and methane out of the air. They even make their pizza crusts from their own spent grain!
I could meander on about all the great things other breweries in Oregon are doing to make the planet suck less (Upright Brewing and Hopworks are two standouts), but I really came to tell you about a fascinating clean energy technology start up firm I just came across in this article. Based in Arlington, MA, Purpose Energy has developed a biodigester that takes waste byproducts from the brewing process and converts them into a gas (I assume methane) that can then be burned to power an electrical generator. This not only reduces the brewery’s energy expense, but also reduces expenses incurred from disposal of the spent grain and waste water. Plus, less crap going into the air/water/landfill. Also, their tagline is “Saving the Earth, One Beer at a Time” which makes me all happy/tingly inside.
Purpose Energy has been partnering with Magic Hat in testing their technology. Though Magic Hat gets more nostalgic love than current praise from the Aleheads, this is definitely a feather in their cap in my estimation. Purpose Energy has also recently achieved $587,000 of a target $750,000 toward their most recent round of funding, with about $2.9 million in total institutional funding raised so far. Clearly someone (other than just me) thinks they’ve got something worth selling!
Drink beer, save the world!