A St. Patty's Day nod to 'green' breweries

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 17, 2014 - Want to really go “green” this St. Patrick's Day?

How about celebrating with a brew from a “green” brewery, one of the many across the U.S. and Canada with strong sustainability programs that often include using biodiesel.

Try, for example, Pale Ale, the flagship brew from the Chico, Calif., brewery, Sierra Nevada, which even has a green label. The company has used a blend of up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) in its fleet of 15 long-haul and local delivery trucks for the last six years, according to a release from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

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“Biodiesel helps us turn what could be a waste product into something useful,” said Ryan Arnold, Sierra Nevada communications manager. “The trucks perform well. With up to B20, we don't see much change in mileage.”

In addition, the company also grows eight acres of hops and has an on-site garden at its restaurant in Chico, where it also fuels tractors with biodiesel. Other suitability initiatives include diverting almost all of its solid waste from the landfill and housing one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in the country, NBB said.

Other breweries using biodiesel include:

-Red Lodge Ales in Red Lodge, Mont. The company has used biodiesel for almost 10 years in its small fleet of delivery vehicles. It collects waste grease from its restaurant customers and trades it for finished fuel from a local supplier. Other efforts include a large solar thermal array that heats water, and a system that introduces outside air into a cold storage during the winter, reducing refrigeration needs.

-New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo., which uses biodiesel made from recycled restaurant grease to fuel trucks and generators for its famous Tour de Fat, a philanthropic “bicycle, beer and bemusement” event that will travel to 10 cities this year. New Belgium also has been engineering dividers out of bottled beer packages over the past few years, resulting in an annual savings of roughly 417 tons of material.

-Stone Brewing Co. The 10th largest craft brewer in the U.S. has been brewing in North County San Diego since 1996. It owns two farm-to-table restaurants and Stone Farms, which grows produce for the restaurants. Stone Distributing Co. distributes more than 30 craft beer brands throughout Southern California. The company has a fleet of 40 box trucks, one hybrid truck, two Sprinter vans and four single-axel daycabs that all use B20. Stone's other initiatives include sending spent grain from the brewing process to local dairy farmers to use as animal feed or as mulch in the gardens.

-For an imported choice, try Steam Whistle Brewing, a Toronto-based craft brewery with a commercial delivery fleet made up entirely of biodiesel-fueled trucks. Other greening efforts include recycling every element of its packaging line: cardboard cartons, broken glass, old bottle caps and even shrink wrap are compacted in the bottle shop to be recycled into new packaging materials.

“The greening movement spreading through the brewing industry for years has a positive impact on other industries that follow their lead,” said Don Scott, the NBB's director of sustainability. “It's great to see biodiesel playing a key role in their strategies. As America's first advanced biofuel, with a greenhouse gas reduction of up to 86 percent, biodiesel is the best choice a fleet can make to reduce its carbon footprint.”

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel for diesel engines made from a diverse mix of sustainable resources like recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and animal fats. It is the first and only EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel being produced on a commercial scale across the country.

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