Brewery – Good! Beer – Good! Planet – Good!Friend’s Reference (just incase)
Brewing beer is an amazing art, consuming beer is a huge industry. An industry that is delicious, yet can be quite unsustainable. We had the opportunity to visit Faculty Brewing, a small and local brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia, to hear more about their attempts to become a more sustainable brewery.
What’s inspiring about what we learnt, was that the Faculty Brewing team did not make any groundbreaking additions or changes. They changed their existing processes to decrease their carbon footprint and wastage – which led them to realize that it might even be possible to strive for a zero-waste brewery!
It goes to show that if all of us, whether in our businesses or households or during our travels, are simply mindful of what we are buying and consuming, we can make a huge difference by simply looking at our current lives and changing our current practices, rather than investing in drastic changes
About Faculty Brewing
The story behind the name, Faculty, was quite a unique one – one that was ignited through Mauricio’s experience as professor with the passion to educate, empower and share knowledge with other people and breweries to create a place of idea-sharing and collaboration. Currently, this is what we need in a variety of aspects in our lives to help preserve our planet for communities and our future generations.
Their approach to Sustainability
To get an idea of why a small and local brewery like Faculty Brewing is striving for sustainability, it all comes down to Faculty Brewing’s single core value
Make the world better than it isMauricio and Faculty Brewing
Now let’s take a look at how Faculty Brewing looked internally, and decided to alter and change processes, keeping sustainability in mind. Faculty Brewing got the brewery neighbourhood together to collaborate on ideas and implementations, because it is evident that the brewery industry is quite wasteful.
Looking internally before investing elsewhere, can help us become mindful and realize that there are things we can change about our lives before we go out and buy solar panels or whatever technology it may be.
- Faculty Brewery is only 1400sqft but a huge volume of beer is the output – A small-in-area brewery taking advantage of all the space came to realize that they did not need large areas to be successful. Being a lean brewery allowed them to save tons of resources, decreasing their carbon footprint. This motivated Mauricio and Alicia to even consider attempting to move towards a zero-waste brewery!
- Brewing is extremely energy intensive because of gas that is produced through the process of fracking – Instead of operating strictly for profits, Faculty Brewing began paying an offset to receive 100% Renewable Natural Gas which comes from compost. This can help with preparing yeast, which uses a heavy amount of natural gas. Even though this can be argued to still be unsustainable, Faculty looked internally, and instead of investing heavily on new technology, they decided to make their current process cleaner, with hopes to later invest in green technology. This energy is also preserved and used efficiently later to boil beer!
- Fermentation of the beer – After boiling the beer, the mixture needs to cool and ferment. Being located in Vancouver comes with its blessings of access to very clean water. Faculty Brewing uses the City Water to mix with their boiled beer. This ensure free water for the brewery while using the water to cool down the beer to a perfect temperature. Other breweries usually have a “Cold Room.” This room allows the brewery to cool the beer to the perfect temperature. However, these refrigeration rooms are quite wasteful because they cool down entire rooms, when all that actually needs to be cooled is the beer! Faculty Brewing stores and cools its beer using city water in tanks, allowing them to use less energy in comparison to cooling entire rooms.
- Use of tanks – The use of tanks allows Faculty Brewing to take advantage of space effectively. Rather than distributing the beers from tanks into kegs for storage into Cold Rooms – Faculty Brewing stores and cools in tanks, and later pours the beer straight from tanks. This also eliminates a large reliance and demand for cleaning products – whereas other breweries require to clean tanks and kegs, Faculty Brewing focuses on keeping their tanks clean and that’s it! We all know how chemically potent cleaning supplies can be
- Car Sharing for Deliveries – Faculty Brewing takes advantage of car-sharing options for their deliveries. Rather than purchasing their own delivery vehicle and adding another vehicle on the road, Faculty believes in taking advantage of what’s already out there!
- Keg Sharing Services – Keg Sharing apps and resources have allowed Faculty Brewing to ship kegs to Victoria, and on its return, another brewery would ship kegs to Vancouver. These resources ensure that a ferry will never be empty. Empty ferry trips can be quite wasteful and this in turn would increase a brewery’s carbon footprint. Faculty Brewing uses delivery-sharing truck services as well. This allows various breweries to share the distribution service across Vancouver or British Columbia!
- Location on a bike lane – Mauricio believes, if they wanted, they can create more parking spaces around the brewery to increase the number of visitors. However, to urge people to go green, they purposely decided to be located and to keep the bike lane so people are encouraged to bike, walk or use the car sharing options available!
- Research and more development – Faculty Brewing is wanting to make even more changes to decrease their impact. Currently, they are collaborating with UBC to see what can be done with the leftovers of beer production. Through research, Spring Grain can have quite a few benefits and it’s essential to explore for breweries! Additionally, breweries are now sharing ideas and knowledge on what can be done to reuse yeast.
What we can learn
- If you’re just dumping something, there is definitely something else that can be done with it
- Knowledge and idea sharing is essential for us to move forward to a greener and more sustainable environment
- Before making drastic changes to your livelihoods, businesses, or households, look internally, look at your current processes and practices, and see how you can make smaller changes before making the big ones! The small changes can add up to a lot!
- Support local and sustainable businesses – this can really help shift the paradigm. Breweries that are profit-driven will soon realize that going green is the new competitive advantage leading them to embrace the shift
- Educate, empower and raise awareness whenever and wherever you can – it is important for us to realize what other’s are going through and why going green or low-waste can be a challenge (this goes for yourself, as well!)
- Take advantage of public transportation and other transportation services! Not only are these services quite convenient, they can also help reduce our carbon footprints and help us shift to a cleaner environment
About Net Impact
The event was organized by the 2018/2019 SFU Net Impact Team
“Net Impact empowers our generations to drive social and environmental change throughout their careers. Our volunteer-led chapter drives change by creating a like-minded community and providing events and programs that support members who aim to use business as a force for environmental & social impact.”