Micro, nano, and craft breweries are on the rise, and that’s important for a variety of reasons like revitalizing local economies. However, one of the most important elements they bring is their sustainable operations. Brewing takes a lot of water and energy, and they recognize that their businesses depend on access to good resources. The American Brewers Association even provides sustainability manuals for interested parties.
New businesses often start out cutting as many corners as possible. Sustainability can offer that immediately and in the long term. Craft breweries use these sustainable efforts to have control over their product quality, reduce shipping costs and carbon footprint, and provide their own ecosystems that reduce waste.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is a prime example of leading sustainability in the microbrew business as a LEED platinum certification at their North Carolina site, which includes 2,200 solar panels, and with their self-sustaining Chico location—complete with Tesla battery storage, 10,573 solar panels to power 20% of their usage (including electric vehicles), and a hops and barley farm. Check out their interactive map of the Chico location to learn more about their sustainability efforts.
Lagunitas follows closely behind Sierra Nevada with solar power, installing a 2.1 MW system. New Belgium, one of the earliest models of a sustainability in brewing, uses 12% of their energy consumption from solar power and notably diverts 99.9% of their waste from landfills. Vivant is the first LEED-certified brewery in the world and, in 2016, installed a 192-panel solar array to offset a portion of their onsite electricity needs. Other solar-powered breweries include: Abita, Upland, Arcadia, Schlafly, Highland, Stone, Kona, Bear Republic, SweetWater, Flying Fish, and Anderson Valley.
Though not a brewery, Flanagan’s Pub in Dayton funded their 60-panel 16.5-kW system with the profits from their Icon Solar Sandwich. Microbreweries all over the U.S. are installing solar as part of their sustainability efforts, 117 that Solar United Neighbors counts, but we can’t help noticing that none exist in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, or Lexington. Maybe we’ll see some local breweries eligible for the 2019 Brews from the Sun award!
Look for us at a brewery near you in the coming months as part of our new Solar ‘n’ Suds series to provide a relaxed atmosphere for the public to learn about solar. After all, breweries are leaders in sustainability, so it just makes sense! Discover as a brewery how you can contribute to the brewers’ push for sustainability, and understand as a residential owner how you can be financially secure, energy independent, and environmentally forward with solar power.