Not everyone will know this, but a few weeks ago it was National Beer Day and last Thursday #beerdaybritian was trending on Twitter, so to fall into our theme of the month being sustainability (meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future), I thought I’d look into what UK breweries are doing to be more sustainable.

According to this press release issued in 2015 by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ales) more breweries than ever before are going green. To do this they are attempting to reduce their carbon footprints by recycling ingredients and using alternative energy sources like solar. 

In fact in this 2013 report by Sustainable Brands, it was noted that the UK brewing sector met its 2020 carbon emissions target eight years early and was on track to achieving its 2020 target for improving water efficiency. This is down to breweries making huge efforts to improve energy use and efficiencies, and they are now attempting to do even more by influencing energy and water use in the supply chain. 

Ultimately the goal of a sustainable brewery is to be eco-friendly without compromising on  quality, so in this article I will take a look at a select few (out of a very large number!) that fall into the eco-friendly category and I’ll leave you to test the quality…

 

Sustainable breweries in the UK

 

Hobson Brewery

Hobson Brewery has a vision to become the country’s leading sustainable brewery by reducing their effect on the environment. To do this they have embraced new technologies like a ground source heat pump, a wind turbine, solar panels and rainwater harvesting. They also source local ingredients and try to ensure their production is as efficient as possible.

 

St Austell Brewery

Founded in 1851 St Austell Brewery aims to reduce their carbon footprint in every area of their business. Their waste material is re-used to feed local cattle, they use LED light bulbs and they even hire local students on placements to help investigate further energy reductions. To coincide with this they monitor all their energy use and they use renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, solar thermal and rainwater harvesting. They are also looking to expand their use of renewable technology by potentially installing an air source heat pump.

 

Adnams Brewery

Adnams Brewery has a four pillar approach to their environmental responsibility – carbon, water, waste and biodiversity. For carbon they aspire to reduce their footprint every year – this includes the emissions of their suppliers and customers. In fact they were the first UK brewery to complete a full lifecycle assessment on their entire beer range. For water they aim to reduce their consumption of this, while for waste they are zero landfill and they have a strong focus on packaging improvements like light-weighted glass. Finally, for biodiversity they look at helping the community for example they recently made homes for 240,000 honey bees – something that we at Mitsubishi Electric are passionate about too!

 

What can we learn?

So from the examples of “best practice” sustainable brewing above, what can breweries and other food and drink manufacturers do to make their processes eco-friendly?

How to sustainable brew

  • Create a core environmental value or strategy

  • Use locally sourced ingredients

  • Reduce waste water

  • Look into technologies like rainwater harvesting

  • Use recycled materials like glass and cardboard

  • Reduce cardboard packaging and glass weight

  • Retro-fit the building with efficient technologies like ground and air source heat pumps

Ellina Webb is a Marketing Specialist at Mitsubishi Electric

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