Great Lakes Brewing Co. (GLBC) is well known for their dedication to improving the environment. The brewery has its own sustainability department, overseen by “Sustainability Czar” Saul Kliorys, who knows how important it is for breweries around the world to conserve water.
D.L. We know that GLBC is working with other breweries and the Brewer’s Association to create water conservation guidelines for craft brewers.What else is the brewery doing to conserve wate r?
S.K. In Cleveland, we’re lucky to draw our water from Lake Erie, which contains about 80% of the nation’s fresh water. For us, there are certainly economic drivers for water conservation, but we also want to demonstrate that we’re being good stewards of this precious resource. It currently takes us about six gallons of water to make one gallon of beer. By standardizing our cleaning processes and reusing water from rinses on our packaging line, we’ve been able to achieve nearly 30% water savings over the last five years.
D.L. Great Lakes’ new spring/summer seasonal, Steady Rollin IPA features a kayaker on the label. How does this beer embody the brewery’s commitment to water conservation?
S.K. There’s a well-known quote that we conserve only what we love, so one of the best things we can do is get out and enjoy the Great Lakes. That’s why there’s a kayaker on the Steady Rollin’ label.
Lake Erie is not only the source of our water, it’s also a natural wonder where many of us go for recreation and inspiration. There are a number of challenges facing the Great Lakes these days – toxic algae blooms and invasive species – that threaten the health of these lakes as well as our ability to boat, paddleboard, fish and kayak on them.
D.L. Steady Rollin’ made its debut at last year’s Burning River Fest. Can you tell us a bit about this annual event and how it led to the creation of the Burning River Foundation?
S.K. This annual music and beer festival [started in 2000] raises money for groups working to conserve water. Folks from all over the Great Lakes region come together every year to remember the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River and celebrate the renewed sense of eco-consciousness that the infamous blaze sparked. Proceeds benefit the Burning River Foundation, a non-profit organization we developed in 2007 that provides resources for the sustainable future of our waterways.