Sustainable Breweries“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 130 expected to be operating throughout the state 2022. 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 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preventing Pollution (P2)
The US EPA has compiled information on best environmental practices for brewery operations using examples from breweries across the country, including resources. Implementing pollution prevention (P2) practices can help breweries reduce costs and their effects on the environment, while differentiating their brands in the eyes of an environmentally conscious consumer base.
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. 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 Craft 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:
- Energy Star Treasure Hunt Map for Microbreweries
- 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
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.
- 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.
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 Caren Harder or Connie Mendolia
- Permitted Volume Reduction Anaerobic Digestion and Food Waste Composting Facilities
- Food to Animal Feed Options
- Mandatory Recycling
- Information on PakTech recycling program for plastic can carriers/holders and find breweries and other drop-off locations in CT for PakTech holders.
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. With the help of the Toxic Use Reduction Institute, craft brewers can find out about alternatives and read how one craft brewer now uses brewers wash at a lower temperature and volume to clean and uses NADCC tablets to sanitize.
- 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
- Breweries & Distilleries: An Environmental Permitting & Pollution Prevention Fact Sheet - COMING Soon - 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.
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 neighboring states and beyond have been providing pollution prevention assistance to breweries, wineries and distilleries. They have compiled useful information ranging from supply chain sustainability to resource conservation. Check out the links below for case studies and other information:
- 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:
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Sustainable Craft Beverages Program has highlighted participating breweries.
- Find out how some local breweries are reducing solid waste, saving energy and reducing water usage including a short video with simple water and money saving ideas.
- Learn how Grey Sail Brewery in Westerly, RI is using innovative technology to capture and reuse CO2 by watching this recorded webinar.
- 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.
Page Updated January 2022