Brew News

Save the Earth, Drink a Beer

From local craft favorites to international beer giants, breweries are putting their best foot forward when it comes to environmental activism.

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd with beers from breweries that put in the work to keep the Earth green!

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada is well known in the beer scene and beyond for their dedication to sustainability. They even have interactive maps of their Chico, CA and Mills River, NC breweries that walk fans through all the measures they take to reduce their impact on the environment.

The brewery recently announced that they would be partnering with American Recycling of Western North Carolina to create the U.S.’s largest brewery recycling cooperative, which will create infrastructure for the area’s 80+ breweries and other small businesses to recycle common industry waste currently going to landfills.

“Many craft breweries use traditional recycling methods where all recyclables are collected together,” explained Leah Cooper, Sustainability Program Manager at Sierra Nevada. “Because of this, they can’t recycle common industry waste like malt bags, shrink wrap and PET strapping.”

Our Pick: You can support Sierra Nevada’s sustainable mission as well as helping the brewery combat food insecurity with Dankful IPA. Sales of the American IPA help fund Sierra Nevada’s support of nonprofits across the U.S., with a $1,000,000 commitment so far.

Allagash

A few hundred miles to the north, Certified B Corp Allagash is pioneering a similar recycling program in their home state of Maine. The brewery recently announced the launch of their Recycling Co-Op, a program that allows local breweries to bring their hard-to-recycle materials to Allagash, where they will be collected and properly recycled.

“By working with our local brewery friends and accumulating these necessary, yet hard-to-recycle, items in one place, we’re streamlining a critical part of the sustainability process,” said Jason Perkins, Brewmaster and VP of Brewing Operations at Allagash Brewing. “We’re proud to put this program into place, and look forward to welcoming many partners both inside and outside the brewing industry. The more action we can take collectively, the better.”

The Recycling Co-Op is in addition to the existing Allagash Recycling Program — through the Allagash tasting room — which rewards Allagash fans with discounts when they drop off beer-related recyclables at the brewery. Every bag of recyclables dropped off equals one digital “punch.” After six punches, that guest gets 20 percent off their next purchase at Allagash.

Our Pick: Those looking to celebrate Allagash’s commitment to the environment should look no further than USDA-certified organic Fine Acre, a golden ale featuring an organic grain bill and Belgian-style yeast.

Corona

After three years of development, Corona is rolling out biodegradable six-pack packaging made from barley, which is not only biodegradable, but also made using a waste product of the beer-making process.

To make the six-pack holder, Corona pulps barley straw (a byproduct of harvesting barley), which is then combined with 100 percent recycled wood fibers. Together, the two fibers form a durable paperboard that is completely plastic-free, and protects glass beer bottles from breaking.

According to Corona, the process of recycling barley straw into fibers uses 90 percent less water than the process of harvesting virgin wood and turning it into paper.

Though the packaging is only being tested in Colombia and Argentina this year, Corona believes the new six-pack holder is a “path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from their supply chain in the future.” Should the tests go successfully, the six-packs may be introduced in other markets in the future.

Our Pick: Whether you’re looking for a post-yardwork refresher or a beer to relax with on the patio, Corona Premier has the premium taste they’re looking for, without the calories.

Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head has a long history of bringing attention to environmental issues, and this year, they’re taking their work to a bigger audience than ever with their new initiative, “Mother Nature, Let’s Do This!” The program will team up Dogfish Head and their new, year-round NA, Lemon Quest, with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the world’s leading environmental nonprofit.

“Because of its wholesome, all-natural ingredients and its connection to TNC, we’ve lovingly nicknamed Lemon Quest, ‘the brew that gives back,’” said Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione. “As a proud supporter of TNC, Dogfish Head will showcase the organization’s logo on every package of Lemon Quest and will contribute more than $50K to TNC to celebrate our new product launch and the awesome collaborative work we’ve been doing to bring our ‘Mother Nature, Let’s Do This!’ program to life.”

“Mother Nature, Let’s Do This!” is a fun and informative, yearlong initiative that challenges beer and nature lovers alike to get outside and enjoy the splendor of the great outdoors. Each quarter, the program will highlight different outdoor activities, from trail running to biking to paddling and everything in between. For participating drinkers, Dogfish Head released an array of active lifestyle-themed, embroidered patches for them to “earn” and display on a special, TNC X Patagonia-branded beanie. Visit their site to learn more!

Our Pick: While Lemon Quest isn’t available just yet, you can get a taste of Dogfish Head’s off-centered approach with Hazy-O!, a hazy IPA made with vegan-friendly oat milk.

Molson Coors

Molson Coors is working to improve their environmental footprint on several fronts, most notably with Coors Seltzer. For every 12-pack sold, Coors will restore 500 gallons of clean water to America’s rivers, including the Delaware and Allegheny. The brand’s Canadian branch is also encouraging drinkers to skip a morning shower on Earth Day and drink a Coors Seltzer instead as a way of conserving water.

Outside the U.S., the brewery is testing new packaging, including a low-carbon beer bottle, which will help their goal of reducing their carbon emissions by 50% by 2025.

Our Pick: New Coors Pure is Coors’ first USDA-certified organic beer, made with organic hops, organic barley and water for pure Rocky Mountain refreshment at just 92 calories and 0g sugar.

BrewDog

These Scottish brewers always go above and beyond, and their approach to sustainability is no different. In August 2020, BrewDog announced that they are officially carbon negative, meaning that they remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. They are the first internationally sold beer brand to reach carbon negative status.

As part of their efforts, the brewery launched a new program earlier this year: Buy One Get One Tree. In partnership with the Eden Project, Buy One Get One Tree is a part of BrewDog’s wider sustainability program focused on native tree planting and ecosystem restoration.

“Buy One Get One Tree is the biggest sustainability project BrewDog has embarked on yet, with a goal to plant over one million trees throughout the year,” said James Watt, co-founder and CEO of BrewDog. “This ground-breaking project is just the beginning, and BrewDog will continue to be the catalyst for change, putting the planet first and leading the way for businesses to make a positive impact on our planet.”

To have a tree planted on your behalf, you can visit brewdog.com/tree and enter the code on the bottom of cans from any single-style multipack of BrewDog beer, including four-, six- and twelve-packs.

Our Pick: Brewdog’s sessionable, lower-calorie hazy IPA Light Speed lets fans get the haze they crave without the high ABV, making it an ideal companion for relaxing in the hammock after mowing the lawn or for sipping with friends on a warm spring afternoon.

Sly Fox

Sly Fox knows that environmental accountability begins in your own backyard. They were the first craft brewery in the region to switch to aluminum can packaging (which is more environmentally friendly than bottles) back in 2006, and for years have donated a portion of the sales of their SRT Ale to the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, in support of the Schuylkill River Trail.

On April 16th, Sly Fox and Schuylkill River Greenways are encouraging fans to show the trail some love with an Earth Day cleanup at Pottstown Riverfront Park, but you can show your support all year by hoisting an SRT with friends.

Our Summer Pick: SRT, of course! This easy drinking, golden brew delivers a delectable hop-forward profile, perfect after a day of cycling, hiking, running, kayaking or just enjoying the great outdoors.

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Draught Lines

Draught Lines is a seasonal magazine dedicated to the craft beer experience.