Brewin’ Green: 7 Amazing Eco-Friendly Breweries

Green beer… not just for St. Paddy’s Day anymore! These 7 amazing eco-friendly breweries are helping to save the planet, one cold & frosty mug at a time.

Brooklyn Brewery

(images via: and BeerBloggersConference)

Brooklyn Brewery really is in Brooklyn NY (it’s located on Brewer’s Row) and it’s also very green: one hundred percent of its energy needs are sourced from sustainable wind power. It costs more (the brewery’s electric bills run about 10 percent higher) to rely on wind power but the brewery’s owners consider it to be good value and good sense.

“It’s the right thing to do,” stated Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy, “and not too many years down the road it will be a common choice. If you are going to be in business, it’s good to have principles.”

(image via: DeviantART/Shuuhei and Kensei)

Being an urban operation, Brooklyn Brewery doesn’t have the means to produce wind power onsite. Instead, the company draws the approximately 285,000 kilowatt-hours required to run operations from Con Edison who in turn sources it from a wind farm in upstate New York’s rural Madison County.

Brooklyn’s going green in other ways as well, such as paying New Jersey dairy and livestock farmers to haul away spent grain from the brewhouse. This beer-brewing byproduct was formerly dumped but instead, it’s providing no-cost nourishment in a true win-win deal for everyone.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

(images via: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Sierra Club and Washington Post)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of Chico, California was established in 1979 by home brewers Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi. Fueled by a commitment to great-tasting beer and sustainable brewing practices, the company has grown to become the sixth-largest brewing company in the United States with 786,000 barrels of beer produced in 2010. Has success spoiled the founders’ predilection for going green? Not at all: in 2010 the brewery was named “Green Business of the Year” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

(image via: Tales of Ales and More)

Sierra Nevada not only talks green talk, the walk the green walk. The company has massively invested in green hardware and infrastructure, installing 10,000 solar cell arrays on the brewery building’s rooftop and parking lot.

Those arrays generate all of the 2.6 megawatts of electricity used to run daily operations at the brewery with enough left over to enable an electric vehicle charging station for employees and visitors. Over 99.5% of the brewery’s solid waste is diverted from landfill and an on-site water treatment plant purifies waste water that’s then used to water the company’s own crops of organic hops and barley.

Orion Breweries

(images via: Okinawaology Blog, Japan Visitor and Orion Beer Co.)

Orion Breweries Ltd. is Japan’s 5th-largest brewery and the only major brewer located on the southern island of Okinawa – American servicemen stationed on the island are more than familiar with its wide variety of beers. The brewery’s main fresh water sources are fresh mountain springs accessed directly while waste water from the brewing process is recycled for uses such as used bottle washing and machinery cleaning.

(image via: Asian Beer Online)

Orian, founded in 1957, has long been an industry leader in reducing waste and recycling whenever possible. In fact, the company has made being environmentally-friendly a prime component of their brand identity by constantly stressing the policy of “zero elimination”. Used hops, yeast, malt and grains mash are all recycled as fertilizers or animal feed, glass beer bottles are cleaned, sterilized and re-used an average of 20 times each, and worn-out plastic beer cases are collected, ground up and recycled.

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