4 Ways to Be a Greener Brewery

Becoming a green brewery or distillery is a very broad topic, with lots of possibilities! However, it is easy to start becoming an environmentally friendly brewery. With Global Warming upon us, a lot of breweries are changing their methods to make them more sustainable, whether it’s turning off lights and tools or finding ways to decrease transportation costs.

Breweries can apply a farm-to-glass program helping to lower the usage of water and transportation of their agricultural products in an effort to become greener. Building a brewery, and distillery, that offers green brewing and green distilling helps to add to the beauty of buying local!

Many people that enjoy craft brewing and distilling most likely only see the positives of “drinking locally” or “supporting a small business.” Which is great, and it benefits the local economy. Here are 4 hurdles that local breweries face when trying to be sustainable and their green solutions:


Problem: Energy is the largest monster to conquer to be more sustainable as a running brewery. Breweries are constantly using electricity, from keeping their fermentation in check with their glycol chiller to some breweries keeping boilers on Monday – Friday for their daily brews.

Trying to save energy by turning off your temp control box during fermentation could result in getting diacetyl or some off-flavor profile in your beer. Turning off your boiler at the end of the night ultimately means that the brewer must come in an hour early to start it up. It would make sense to see which is more cost-effective in that case. 

Solution: Depending on their location, breweries are starting to invest in solar and wind energy. Solar and wind power help not only by using less electricity but by saving some dollars in your pocket. Installing more windows in both the back and front of the house allows more natural light in the building, cutting back on those pesky halogen bulbs (but hopefully you have LED bulbs all over your brewery), opening the windows and bay doors can help with letting in light and airflow as well.

Some breweries are taking the plunge to pay staff more so that boilers can be shut down every night. There is always something you can turn off while not using, just like at your house: lights, air compressor, canning line when not running, and so much more.

2.Fossil Fuels:

Problem: Fossil fuels are used in the ancillary operations of the brewery, but they are all very necessary parts of keeping the brewery running. Fossil fuels are used in transporting grains, equipment, distribution, and more, using gas to treck these things across the country. It even comes into play when trying to dispose of spent grains to the farmers.

Solution: Unfortunately, there’s not much to do when trying to cut down on fossil fuels; transportation will always happen with a running business. Try investing in electric trucks or lifts – even more beneficial if you are running on solar or wind energy; ask your vendors about their green, and sustainable efforts, partner with vendors that have plans to incorporate electric vehicles, or at minimum, have practices in place to cut down on gas mileage and emissions.

3.Natural Gas

Problem: Breweries use natural gas in boilers to produce steam for heating mash tuns or running the kettle. During fermentation, carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol vapors are released into the atmosphere, at the end of fermentation, that carbon dioxide isn’t really in the beer anymore since it was released through the blow-off arm of the tank.

As a result, more CO2 is added to the beer to give it carbonation and the mouth feel that we all enjoy so much; to do so, breweries connect their uni tanks to a piece of machinery called a Fizz Wizz, adding the correct amount of CO2 back into the beer by measuring the temperature and pressure of the tank. This carbonation process can take 24 hours; CO2 is also being run during packaging, both on the canning line and when the beer is being kegged.

Solution: Natural gas breweries are taking a large step to slow down and help with this. Instead of releasing the carbon dioxide out of the blow-off arm during fermentation, breweries can invest in technology to recycle their CO2. Big Storm in Clearwater, Florida, has installed a system to recapture the CO2 during fermentation, which you can read more about here. Another brewery is selling its grain to a university that is repurposing it with a farmer’s manure to create methane gas.


Problem: Hops, one of the most popular ingredients in a beer, helps with the aroma, color (sometimes), and flavor profile of the beer. Hops take a LOT of water, and, well, with global warming upon us, it’s not great for mother earth. Studies say we use 700-800 MM of water during the growing season worldwide.

Plus, three main states in the United States grow hops – Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Within the past eight years, New Zealand has become a large supplier of hops, which goes back to using energy and fossil fuels to receive said hops. Other agricultural ingredients include grain, corn, corn flakes, oat flakes, and more, which all use water to grow and transportation to have it dropped off at your brewery.

Solution: Many breweries are creating their own farmland to grow hops and other additives for their batches, subscribing to the sustainable Farm to Glass program. A good example of that is Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Jester King Brewing. Another advantage of farmland is that rainwater can be captured and repurposed for gardens. If your brewery cannot purchase local farmland, partnering with local farms to supply as much as possible is another example of creating a sustainable brewing practice. This bolsters the local economy and agriculture while cutting back on transportation costs.

Changing your ecological footprint can seem like a daunting and expensive task, but it is important to take it one step at a time. Do what you can when you can. Start by turning off lights and equipment when they are not in use, ask your vendors about their sustainable practices, and partner with those.

Keep your purchases local to cut back on transportation usage and bolster the agricultural community in your area. Then when you have the time and/or finances, invest in rainwater collection vessels, or CO2 recycling equipment. Then before you know it, your brewery can be sustainable and green as well.

Does your brewery need an efficient rice cooker or a fermenter? Contact us via email or at 561-845-8009. Let us help you on your green journey!