We know that you love craft beer. And we know that you care about the environment and how your actions affect the greater whole. Well, have we got good news for you!! It turns out that drinking craft beer is just one more thing YOU can do to help the environment! Here’s what writer Kyle Cassidy had to say about craft beer and its low environmental impact:
1. Craft brewers buy local: “they support their communities by buying fresh local ingredients.” For this reason, the carbon footprint of the ingredients that go into making that unique local brew is much smaller than would be the case for a big brewer who trucks in base ingredients across a larger distance. [Boundary Bay has pledged to source at least 25% of our entire food budget from local sources and all menu items that contain local ingredients are marked on our menu with the “Buy Local” logo.]
2. Craft brewers sell local: just as they source their ingredients locally, many craft brewers only sell locally, too. While the decision to sell locally isn’t always or strictly an environmental decision–it’s often one based entirely in start-up/small business economics–it has positive environmental benefits, nonetheless. Like the local sourcing of ingredients, selling locally means that the factory-to-point of sale path is a short one, requiring fewer transportation resources. Also, brewers can more easily reclaim their bottles, reusing them again and again. [Boundary Bay only distributes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho thereby making a relatively small carbon footprint when we deliver our brews.]
3. Craft brewers connect with their communities: because of their emphasis on all things local, craft brewers have a greater tendency than big beer companies to connect with people and issues in their communities. Craft breweries can support environmental and community building initiatives in collaboration with other organizations and businesses in the area, and have a much better idea about the impact of their operations because their management team doesn’t live hundreds or thousands of miles away. [Boundary Bay has a long standing strong relationship with our community. We are the business referred to as “Pure Bellingham” and we work diligently to support local economy and other local businesses.]
4. Craft brewers manage their waste effectively: craft brewers, according to Cassidy, often enter into agreements with farmers in their communities to dispose of the grain waste in a manner that’s environmentally friendly. In other locations where such collaborations aren’t feasible, craft brewers are experimenting with using spent grains as a fuel source to power their own operations. [All of the spent grains from Boundary Bay are picked up and re-used as livestock feed in local farms. Plus, all of our used oil from our Beer Garden fryer gets picked up and re-used as Biodiesel fuel by a local company.]
We have taken great strides in this last year alone in making what we do even more sustainable: we’ve pledged to source at least 25% of our food budget from local sources, we’ve undertaken a waste audit, an energy audit and a waste water analysis, we’ve joined a Toward Zero Waste program and we’ve made a number of small changes in-house that collectively move us toward a more sustainable way of life and business. We are thankful to live in a community that supports local business, local agriculture and environmental responsibility, and we are grateful to customers who make choices with their dollars and supporting us as we grow and change in a more environmentally responsible way.