Thoughts on Sustainability
We believe sustainability is not a label on a product, but a philosophy guiding the choices we make each day. Though we strive to be as efficient as we can, we understand that sometimes you need to make compromises. Sometimes at public events we may be forced to use plastic cups for instance. Sometimes situations require you to make the best out of not so ideal options. By using sustainability as a guiding principle, however we hope to do our part to make a difference. Here are some ways we do our part.
While we can’t produce beer without energy input, we can however choose the source.
We use NaturStrom for our gas (10% Biogas) and electricity (from 100% renewable sources). To cut down on energy use we brew only top-fermenting beers, or ales, so all of our beers are able to ferment at normal cellar temperatures, requiring significantly less cooling than traditional german bottom fermenting beers such as pilsner.
Many consumers often do not realize how much water goes into making a liter of beer. There is much more water used than what appears in your glass, and not all of that is used in the brewery. When you factor in watering the malt and hops out in the field you can easily reach 10 liters of water to 1 liter of beer. We do what we can do to spare water, refilling tanks from wort chilling to be used in the next batch of beer for instance. We also serve tap water free of charge to any customer who asks, since bottled water requires even more water to clean and reuse the bottle and has a significantly higher CO2 footprint.
While not all of our raw materials are certified organic, we strive to use the best ingredients and when possible source our special additions from local farmers. Most often, when we use material outside of the Reinheitsgrebot such as chocolate nibs or even orange peels, we buy them from our neighborhood organic store. Our Brewmaster has even experimented using unmalted grains in our beers which have not been heated and thus have had a lower energy footprint.
Every week hundreds of kilos of spent grains are picked up from our brewery and fed to cows in Brandenburg. The relationship between brewer and farmer has been a tradition in Germany for hundreds of years and we are glad to continue being part of this history.
Apart from raw materials, we strive to take advantage of the full life of the products we use. Not a single keg we use is new, neither are the chairs or tables in our bar. This has not only saved us money but has also reduced the unnecessary use of resources to create new products we do not really need. When possible we have also up-cycled doors to make tables, windows have become chalk boards, and wine crates are now shelves for our glassware. In short reusing material is not only environmentally sound but, economically sustainable.
People most often focus on issues of environmental and economic sustainability, while overlooking the importance of social sustainability. We started our brewery with a focus on the community. Our initial capital was sourced through crowd-funding. In 2014 we started Germany’s first Community Supported Brewery project where members get monthly shares of beer and collaborate with us on recipes and future ideas for our Taproom. Apart from our CSA members our Taproom is an open space available to people from all walks of life to come together, drink a beer, and start a conversation. You can drink your beer in silence if you choose to as well. No judgement.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
― Gary Snyder
"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility."
― Eleanor Roosevelt