Let’s face it. You can’t make good beer without a healthy planet. The fine barley, full-flavored hops and clean water we use in Summit beer all depend on it. So we’re especially committed to protecting our environment and using resources wisely. Here are just some of the ways we’re doing our part.
Reducing water usage
We capture all of the water used to rinse out the inside of our bottles, filter it, then reuse it to rinse the outside of our bottles. This reduces our water consumption by about 2.7 million gallons annually.
Reducing energy consumption
In the winter months, instead of using energy to run mechanical cooling devices, Summit uses ambient outdoor air to cool the glycol that keeps the fermenting tanks cold, chills process water, chills the yeast tanks, and chills the beer on the way to the filter. Besides Winter Ale, this is one of the few benefits to Minnesota winters. When summer finally arrives, we essentially recycle the cold from our glycol and turn it into air conditioning for our packaging area.
We replaced our old single speed air compressor (which ran 24/7 to meet our production needs) with two energy-efficient models that can be cycled on and off. In the process, we also started diverting hot air off the compressors to our production areas for supplemental heat in the winter (and diverting it outside in summer to reduce energy usage and cooling costs).
We also completed a heat recovery project that diverts heat from our Brewhouse to the Ratskeller in winter to reduce natural gas usage by 6,000 therms. It also diverts heat outside in summer to help keep the Ratskeller cool while reducing electricity usage by 200,000 KWH annually.
We’ve replaced all of the light fixtures in our production areas with high efficiency fluorescent lighting, reducing energy consumption by 50% in these spaces. We have installed motion-activated lighting in all areas not continuously occupied.
We also overhauled the controls on our process boiler to reduce natural gas consumption.
Working with a local processing company, Summit Brewing has implemented a program that prevents over 200,000 pounds of waste from going to landfills each year. This company takes all of the spent grain, protein, yeast and other sediment from our brewing and filtration processes and turns them into ingredients for non-corn based poultry and swine feed.
All of our disposable special event cups are made out of compostable material.
Speaking of events, at our annual Backyard Bash we partner with Eureka Recycling to work towards a zero-waste event. At the 2013 Bash we only generated 78.6 pounds of trash with 2,400 people in attendance–that’s less than a half an ounce of trash per person, or approximately the same weight as seven beer bottle caps! By composting 1,120 pounds of material and recycling 340 pounds, nearly 95% of all waste generated at the event was diverted from the trash, saving valuable resources and reducing pollution.
Finally, we ask you to do your part by recycling our bottles and cans. Check with your local recycler, but our 12 and 6-pack carriers are also recyclable – especially our 12-packs since they don’t have a “wet strength” additive!
For more details on our sustainability efforts, check out our “Being green” blog post.