Sustainable Breweries and Other Craft Beverages
“Environmental stewardship is paramount for the health and vitality of the craft brewing community” - John Stier, National Brewers Association website.
Connecticut's breweries are a fast growing section, with close to 120 operating throughout the state in 2023. The brewing process is energy intensive, uses large amounts of water and generates high volumes of wastewater and organic wastes. There are many actions breweries can take to reduce their environmental footprint, prevent pollution, conserve natural resources and be a model of sustainability. The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is committed to providing assistance to breweries across the state to minimize waste, reduce pollution, promote energy efficiency resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage use of less toxic cleaning products. For more information, contact email@example.com (860-424-3243) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recognition Program & Technical Assistance
BetterBev New England - Environmentally Sustainable Craft Beverage Program
Participate in this new, voluntary program and receive assistance with and recognition for operating in an environmentally sustainable way!
This is a free program developed to help craft beverage manufacturers reduce their environmental impact by taking actions to minimize waste and the use of toxic products, and to manage resources efficiently. CT DEEP's Pollution Prevention program (P2) manages the program with input from the CT Brewers Guild.
Connecticut has collaborated with New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to develop performance standards and create this program; the New England states have similar programs that provide a consistent set of program criteria. Contact Connie Mendolia for more information.
- Program Details
- Application Form
- Environmental Best Practices Checklist (also available as Word document)
Who are the BetterBev New England businesses?
Find CT's recognized businesses here
Sustainability and Preventing Pollution (P2) Resources
- Be the Change – Sustainability in Practice, Presentation given at New England Brew Summit, 2023: Learn about strategies that enable you to purchase more local grain, reduce your CO2 use, and show your commitment to green/sustainable operations in the taproom. Includes contact information for the team dedicated to providing no cost technical assistance in CT and across all of New England.
- Pollution Prevention Brewing Successes - Best environmental practices, using examples from breweries across the country. Find out how breweries are reducing pollution, saving money and differentiating their brands in the eyes of environmentally conscious consumers.
- Sustainable Solutions for Craft Beverage Producers: How to Create a Culture of Sustainability - video of webinar
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Onsite Assistance and Assessments:
1. CT DEEP is working with UI and Eversource to assist breweries with reducing energy use and saving money.
- The Small Business Energy Advantage program can provide free onsite audits by an approved vendor to identify opportunities for savings. This program program can cover a wide range of opportunities, including refrigeration, heating and cooling, ventilation, weatherization, and of course lighting using 0% on bill financing.
- Other Commercial and Industrial efficiency programs may also be available, including the Energy Conscious Blueprint program for new or existing breweries that are undergoing major renovations.
2. The new Southern New England Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at UConn & University of New Haven administered by the US DOE was established in 2021. The IAC provides uses engineering students to provide free audits and consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers for saving energy, reducing water usage, reducing carbon footprint, adopting renewable energy, and improving productivity. Breweries with energy bills greater than $100,000 may be eligible and can request an assessment here.
Thinking about using solar energy at your brewery? Find out what you need to get started with DEEP's new FAQ document:
- Solar for CT Craft Breweries: What You Need to Know published February 2022.
Brewery Success Stories and Resources:
There are case studies from breweries in CT and New England highlighting improvements ranging from solar hot water heating systems, heat recovery, lighting, motor and compressor upgrades, pipe insulation, high efficiency refrigeration and more!
- Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford, CT Case Study, Lighting Project and Press Release
- How VT Beer Makers Brew Up Savings, Energy Treasure Hunt case study
- Cisco Brewery in Portsmouth, NH Saves Energy with Assistance from Industrial Assessment Center
- Barrington Brewery Solar Hot Water System, Great Barrington,MA
- Brewing Up Energy Savings - October 2020 video recording includes presentations: Benchmarking by National Brewers Association, Energy Treasure Hunt Overview (17:07), and Treasure Hunt example by Efficiency VT (40:37)
- Island Dog Brewing in Maine Video on how they're Saving Energy through Sustainable Brewing & Fermentation Control Board
- Refrigeration at Breweries, NH Pollution Prevention Case Study
- Apponaug Brewing, RI - Case Study on Cost Effective Energy Upgrades
These energy-related tools and resources are available:
- One CT Brewery goes on an Energy Treasure Hunt and uncovers several cost savings opportunities that your brewery could also implement.
- Energy Star Treasure Hunt Map for Microbreweries
- Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings Opportunities for Distilleries
Water and Wastewater Discharge
Wastewater discharges are regulated by CT DEEP and the local wastewater treatment facility (POTW). Beer making uses a significant amount of water and generates large amounts of high strength wastewater. It is important that breweries adhere to effluent limits set out in their general permits. Breweries can implement best management practices to reduce their high strength waste before sending to the treatment facility. Assistance from DEEP's Pollution Prevention program is available at 860-424-3297 or email.
- NEW! CASE STUDIES ON REDUCING WASTEWATER POLLUTION AT LOCAL CONNECTICUT CRAFT BREWERIES
Three Connecticut breweries participated in a voluntary wastewater sampling project and implemented low and no cost best practices. As a result, the breweries reduced BOD, COD and other pollutants being discharged or were able to identify how brewing processes contribute to discharge strength. Recommendations and actions taken by these breweries serve as a model for actions other local breweries can also implement.
- Back East Brewing Company in Bloomfield
- Beer'd Brewing Company in Groton
- Great Falls Brewing Company in Canaan
- DEEP's webpage on Water Discharge Permits and General Permits provides information on permits and general permits. Scroll down to the lower half of the page to the light blue "General Permits" heading and below you'll find links to the permit applications and fact sheets. Craft breweries that discharge greater than 1000 gallons a day (gpd) of wastewater to a sanitary sewer system on any day or craft breweries that transport any amount of wastewater to a sewage treatment plant will need to submit a Notification Form under the Miscellaneous Industrial Users GP. Only breweries that discharge greater than 25,000 gpd or have been deemed a Significant Industrial User by the DEEP Commissioner will need to register under the Significant Industrial Users GP.
- Pollution Prevention and Wastewater Pre-treatment Successes in VT and NH - a short video with examples from craft breweries.
- New Hampshire breweries share simple actions taken to reduce water use and save money in this 4 minute video
Reducing Waste, Waste & Organics Recycling
The brewing process generates a variety of wastes, including spent grains, spent yeast and tank bottoms. Separating out and collecting each waste steam allows them to be sent to an appropriate facility for reuse or disposal. Other wastes that breweries may generate include packaging, mandatory recyclables and scrap plate waste from dining, all of which can be diverted from trash. CT DEEP can provide assistance with setting up a program, including a site visit. Contact Connie Mendolia
- CT Permitted Volume Reduction Anaerobic Digestion and Food Waste Composting Facilities
- Food to Animal Feed Options in CT
- Mandatory Recycling in CT
- Information on PakTech recycling program for plastic can carriers/holders and find breweries and other drop-off locations in CT for PakTech holders.
- Free assistance with reducing waste: The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) can help you save money and integrate sustainable practices into your brewery and/or brewpub. With support from CT DEEP, CET offers easy, practical solutions to CT businesses at no-cost. A CET waste reduction expert will meet with you and provide custom recommendations to help you identify more beneficial uses for your surplus and waste. Contact email@example.com, 888-410-3827, or click here to learn more or get started. Check out Apponaug Brewery Case Study, Warwick, RI.
- Reduce product waste with sensor technology - Bar Track information and Recorded webinar on Bar Track Sensor Technology to Manage Beverage Quality, Monitor Inventory and Eliminate Waste
- Reduce solid and plastic wastes - Hear how two Massachusetts breweries, Untold Brewery and Redemption Rock, are using Eco-Conscious Packaging to reduce plastics - recorded webinar, passcode #E!H.9zj
CO2 and Nitrogen
- Discover How CO2 Capture Can Benefit Your Brewery & The Environment - Webinar recording, presented by Dalum Beverage Equipment, 5/2023
- Learn how Grey Sail Brewery in Westerly, RI is using innovative technology to capture and reuse CO2 by watching this recorded webinar.
- The Northeast Grainshed is a group of of farmers, millers, maltsters, brewers, bakers, distillers, and more committed to building a local food chain in the Northeast. Using local grains contributes to farmland preservation.
- The SQFT Project, including SQFT calculators, is a way to assess the ingredients of craft grain beverages , generating figures that represent the square footage of farmland involved in making each product.
Less Toxic Cleaning
Most breweries are using chemicals common in food applications for cleaning- and sanitizing-in-place. There are safer options than caustic sodium hydroxide. The Toxic Reduction Institute (UMass Lowell) provides information for craft brewers on safer alternatives, including using brewers wash at a lower temperature and volume to clean and using NADCC tablets to sanitize:
- Alternative Cleaners and Sanitizers, Recorded webinar, July 2023 and read how one craft brewer now
- Alternative Cleaners and Sanitizers for the Brewing Industry, Toxic Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell
- Merrimack Ales in Lowell Finds Safer Ways to Clean and Sanitize
- Island Dog Brewery in Maine, Alternative Cleaner Trial
- Slide presentation - Toxics Reduction in the Craft Brewery Industry, New England Environmental Finance Center
- Video - Toxics Reduction in the Craft Beverage Industry and Island Dog Brewery discusses alternative cleaners
- Breweries & Distilleries: An Environmental Permitting & Pollution Prevention Fact Sheet for CT businesses - provides information on the variety of state environmental permits that may be needed to operate and basic suggestions on best practices to prevent pollution. Not all of the permits listed may be necessary, permitting requirements depend on several factors including the size and location of the facility and amount of waste generated.
CT Department of Community and Economic Development oversees programs that may be able to prove grants, low cost loans and other financing opportunities.
- Small Business Boost Fund
- CT DECD Small Business website
- Manufacturing Innovation Fund and Manufacturing Resources
- Manufacturing Assistance Act
1. CT DEEP Information / Recent Presentations:
- DEEP Wastewater Permits and Organic Waste Overview, Presentation to CT Brewers Guild, April 7, 2021
- DEEP presentation to CT Brewers Guild, March 2021
2. Several New England states and beyond have been providing pollution prevention assistance to breweries, wineries and distilleries. Find case studies and other useful information ranging from supply chain sustainability to resource conservation below:
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Sustainable Craft Beverages Program has a variety of information including case studies on CO2 capture and refrigeration and has highlighted participating breweries.
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Green Breweries has resources and short videos highlighting Green Brewery Success Stories.
- New York State Pollution Prevention Institute has a variety of case studies on craft beverage facilities highlighting energy efficiency, water conservation and other measures to reduce pollution and save money (sort by selecting craft beverages from the "Industry" drop-down menu).
- Best Practices for Sustainable Craft Brewing Fact Sheet - Developed by NYS, the information is transferable to CT breweries. This fact sheet offers best practices for making brewery operations more sustainable in five key areas: Water use, wastewater discharge, cleaning chemical use, waste reduction, and energy consumption.
- Recordings of the 2021 NYS Sustainable Brewery Summit are available:
In addition, the following resources are available on sustainable supply chains:
- Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Center has put together a Topic Hub for Craft Brewing with pollution prevention opportunities and best practices for the craft brewing industry.
- Kentucky Resource Center for Environmental Sustainability - Sustainable Spirits and Brewing, - See Training webinars on Value Stream Mapping, Sustainable Water Consumption and Lean Approaches for Water Efficiency for Spirits, Brewing and Wine Making
Page Updated February 2024