Tucked away in the small town of Hood River, Oregon lies one of the most sustainable breweries in the entire country. The Full Sail Brewing Company has had sustainability built into it when the brewery was first started in 1987. They are responsible for beers like the Full Sail Amber, and, my favorite, the Session Black. Executive Brewmaster, James Emmerson says that he “really prefers the term ‘responsible’ as opposed to ‘sustainable’”, which says a lot about the character of the employees, as well as the brewery. Not only are they artists of their craft, but they practice so responsibly with almost no effect on the environment they are based in. Let’s take a look at the initiatives that make Full Sail Brewing Company the eco-friendly brewery it is famous for.
Don’t Tear It Down
Sustainability has been a part of Full Sail since the assembly (not construction) of their brewery. Their brewery was “recycled” from an old cannery that had not been operable since 1972. The founders recycled and reclaimed as much as they could from the old warehouse. Although the renovation was not easy, the result was well worth it. Rather than tear down the building and risk more damage to the beautiful environment that is Hood River, they made due with what was already there. The founders acknowledge this achievement as something “to look back and remember this decision as the foundation for all sustainable business practices to come”. The features that the renovated building has been equipped with include: a full wastewater treatment system, a high efficiency boiler, and a high efficiency glycol chiller. Everything in the building was implemented to achieve maximum energy conservation efforts. One thing that really stands out is that they have a 4 day work week, which reduces energy consumption by 20%, and reduces the emissions employees would emit on their drive to work. Now, thats a sweet deal! The standard, daily operations of the building breathe sustainability, Responsibility Never
Tasted So Good
Full Sail has taken big steps to ensure that they brew beers with as little water as possible and with the freshest, and most pure ingredients available. Triple Pundit reports that while the average brewery consumes 6 to 8 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of beer, Full Sail has managed to drop that number from 6 to 2.5! Annually, they are conserving 4.1 million gallons of water. This is an incredible achievement that other breweries need to take note of. As far as their ingredients go, they use only 4 ingredients: pure water, yeast, hops and barley from local farmers in the Northwest. Almost 99% of their ingredients come from locally grown farmers in Oregon. By them using locally grown ingredients, they are reducing carbon emissions that would be spent shipping the goods to the brewery. Another factor that makes this brewery stand out amongst all the others is that recently, Full Sail Brewing Company became Organic Certified by Oregon Tilth, which is one of the country’s most strike organic certification processes.
Full Sail Brewing Company has the criteria to be one of the most sustainable breweries in the whole country, and their practices should be an example to all other brewers who are trying to get a good start in the, rapidly expanding, craft brewing industry.