Brewin’ Green: 7 Amazing Eco-Friendly Breweries

Odell Brewing Company

(images via: Wedding Mapper, Odell Brewing Co. and The Dieline)

The state of Colorado and its “Rocky Mountain spring water” have become intimately associated with beer and brewing, though the state’s many excellent craft brewers have mainly flown under the radar thus far. Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins is one of those seeking to escape the shadow of a certain corporate mega-brewery by way of their distinctive beers, uniquely artistic packaging and admirable environmental brewing practices.

(image via: Daily Beergasm)

Founded in 1989 by Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell in a converted 1915 grain elevator, Odell Brewing Company now (as of 2009) occupies a 45,000 square ft (4,200 m2) building, sells 45,000 barrels of beer annually and employs over 60 people.

“Sustainability is a part of Odell Brewing Company’s culture & values,” states Wynne Odell at the company website. “As we grow & improve, we consider sustainability in every activity we undertake, not as our only priority, but as one to be balanced with other priorities, such as functionality, safety, aesthetics and cost. From large investments in energy generation to the small, everyday recycling & composting actions of each co-worker, we work to minimize our impact on our community.” We’ll drink to that!

Steam Whistle Brewing

(images via: ImarketYoumarket, BlogTO and

Steam Whistle Brewing was founded in 2000 in Toronto, Canada by three former employees of the Upper Canada Brewing Company who were laid off when UCB was bought by Sleeman Breweries… the “3FG” embossed on the bottom of Steam Whistle’s distinctive bright green glass bottles stands for “3 Fired Guys”.

Steam Whistle also stands out due to their heavy glass bottles and their painted-on labels, old-fashioned touches that both eliminates the need for paper labels and allows the bottles to be washed, sterilized and re-used up to 45 times each. Having no labels also means having no residual dye and glue contaminate waste water. Check out the impressive roster of Steam Whistle’s green initiatives here.

(image via: Kaleidoscope/Brad Fraser)

Steam Whistle takes going green seriously… and literally. Take the company’s Green Fleet of vintage promotional vehicles, including the mid-Fifties “Retro Electro” pickup converted to zero-emissions specs. The brewery itself is powered by clean energy sourced from Bullfrog Power and on the packaging line cardboard cartons, broken glass, old bottle caps and even used plastic shrink wrap are compacted for recycling into new packaging materials. Spent grain from the brewhouse is shipped to rural Wellington County farmers for use as animal feed.

In 2004, voters at the Golden Tap Awards selected Steam Whistle Pilsner as the Best Beer in Toronto. It’s a lesson other breweries, large or small, might well take to heart: going for the gold and going green are no longer mutually exclusive, they can be quite complementary!