It’s Not Easy Being Green: Urban Chestnut Is Changing St. Louis Brewery Culture
Sure, you want to go where everybody knows your name. But you also want to get a pint from a civic-minded independent business. Urban Chestnut Brewing Company is such a place. The brewery is an integral part of the ongoing renaissance of craft beer–brewing modern American beers. Their broad selection of draughts and bottles mesh old and new world brewing, giving customers a wider selection than commercial taverns.
At a time when many corporations are worrying about sustaining their bottom line, Urban Chestnut, Missouri’s first LEED-certified brewery, is focused on sustainability through water conservation, composting, recycling and solar power.
You would be hard-pressed to find a business as dedicated to a zero waste policy as Urban Chestnut, the winner of the 2015 Missouri Governor & Department of Economic Development Metropolitan Community/Redevelopment Project of the Year Award, which touts the best example of an impactful revitalization in the region.
UCBC’s devotion to reduced carbon emissions is evident in the inclusion of indoor bike racks and access to mass transit. Urban Chestnut also does its best to use all-natural cleaning products as much as possible. Succinctly, UCBC works to reduce its carbon footprint in all aspects of business. Over the last two years, they’ve not only brewed fine beers but offset 10 tons of carbon, the equivalent of 250 trees.
If they seem to have a sunny disposition it is because over the last year their solar power array created a renewable source of energy that helps keep operating costs down.
They could just pour drinks and get on with it but instead, UCBC is all about keeping things real in the STL by purchasing local foods and using local antique shops and benches made from storm-damaged wood to furnish their locations.
The brewery also has allied with four local farms that use their spent grain, the solid waste leftover from the brewing process, to feed their livestock. In 2015, Urban Chestnut donated over 600 tons of spent grain, enabling farmers to keep overhead down while ensuring that their animals get a better diet.
Urban Chestnut champions diversity, not only in their beers but also in the community. Initiatives like “Urban Efforts” and “Steins for Support” illustrate how entrenched their business model is in helping help local schools, libraries, arts groups and local nonprofits like Cinema St. Louis, Alzheimer’s Association of St. Louis, Children of Africa Fund and EnergyCare through product donations and event space opportunities.
Today, beer-lovers have more choices than ever. Thus, Urban Chestnut is striving to be a brewery and communal incubator whose partnerships represent an affirmation to community building that is as refreshing and cold as the frosty ones they serve.