Brewers trade sustainability ideas

Brewers from around the state gathered to discuss ways to make beer sustainably.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:45 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Whether a casual beer drinker downing an after-shifter or a serious aficionado sipping a favorite brew or sampling an establishment’s full menu, it’s safe to say few, if any, of the customers of one of the area’s growing number of craft breweries and brewpubs is asking whether it’s in support of the environment.

But in an average crowd of beer drinkers, odds are some of them share some concern for the environment and climate change.

If so, they might find comfort in knowing across town, in the back of the area’s pioneer craft brewery, the people who make the beer they drink spent much of the day talking about those concerns or rather what they could be doing to help.

The Sustainable Brewery Summit, hosted by Great Basin Brewing at their Tanks and Tap room brought together people from most, if not all, local breweries to share ideas and experiences with environmentally friendly business practices.

“They use a lot of water. They use a lot of energy<” says Donna Walden, of the environmental advocacy organization,greenUP!, “and by using best practices they can both save money and impact the environment.”

Some of the ideas, energy-efficient lighting and other measures, were just common sense. Most were specific to the brewing process such as recycling spent grain rather than sending it to the landfill. “I want to say it was about 300,000 pounds last year, malt that went to animal feed instead of going to garbage,” said Jazz Aldrich of Great Basin.

Some are more complicated and costly like recapturing CO2 and some are coming from mandates they can’t control. “Water is our number one ingredient and here in the state of Nevada, especially in southern Nevada, it’s a big issue,” noted Linda Lovelady of Henderson’s Lovelady Brewing. “So there’s changes coming down the pike whether we’re ready or not.”

Fortunately, most in the long run are just good sound business. “A lot of these are not only sustainable, they will save you money in the long run,” said Aldrich.

So, for the environmentally conscious beer drinker, relax. The people who made your favorite craft brew are on it.