Shrinking Beer’s Eco Footprint: Urban Chestnut Brewing Company Wins an EPA WasteWise Award
Picture yourself out on the town at your favorite biergarten, with a gracious breeze blowing, twinkling fireflies lighting up the patio and a cold IPA sweating in your hand. You’re hours deep into a conversation with friends, thinking about ordering another round or where the night might take you.
What you’re probably not thinking about is that the pint of beer in your hand took almost a gallon of water to make, and that the brewer probably disposed of thousands of pounds of spent hops, yeast and barley that day alone. Also, unless you’re a super beer-nerd, you may not even realize that making your favorite brew can be one of the most environmentally destructive processes in the craft industry.
However, if your biergarten-of-choice is Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, you can sip with a little more ease tonight; the St. Louis brewery has just been named one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 10 national WasteWise Award winners—the only small business on the list—in recognition of the huge steps it’s taken to make its brewing process low-impact for the planet.
“Sustainability has been a major focus of Urban Chestnut’s business plan since our inception in 2011,” said the UCBC quality assurance manager, Kurt Driesner. “Whenever possible, sustainable designs and processes are implemented at the point of installation.”
In other words, up to 97 percent of the solid waste involved in making your favorite UCBC Schnickelfritz or Zwickel is diverted from landfills before it even reaches your tap. More than 220,000,000 pounds of its yeast alone have gone to make ethanol. (Side note: Raise your hand if you think Urban Chestnut should invest in a sweet ethanol-powered party bus to make the bar crawl from its Grove and Midtown STL locations a little easier.)
Not a drinker? If you’ve ever enjoyed a pretzel board at the Manchester Avenue Bierhall or one of those ridiculously delicious pizzas at the company’s Urban Research Brewery, you’ve helped out too: More than 30 tons of organics from the UCBC kitchens were turned into compost last year.
Put the efforts of all the WasteWise award winners together and it adds up to about 356,000 tons of organic matter kept out of landfills. Who knew that enjoying a Radler on a summer night could help save the planet?
For more information about the 2018 WasteWise Awards, visit the EPA website.
Images courtesy of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.