USGBC Ohio’s Southwest Regional Leadership Team recently launched "Sustainable Suds," a competition for eco-friendly brewing that raises awareness about sustainable brewing processes while also raising funds for USGBC's community service projects. The contest ran from Earth Day through Memorial Day, and the funds will support community service projects in the Southwest Ohio region.
The team invited local breweries to develop a new recipe or to modify an existing recipe that improved the brew process to be more sustainable. We had five breweries and beers join our inaugural round of Sustainable Suds. Once we launched, we invited our volunteers, members and friends to take part in a friendly competition to find out which beer was the fan favorite, the top fundraiser and so on.
Here is an overview of our competitors and how they incorporate sustainability into their brewing practices:
Alexandria Brewing Company
Accountability Buddy, Brut Style. 9% A.B.V.
Alexandria Brewing Company reduced the amount of cleaning solution required after brewing Accountability Buddy by reusing the same batch of solutions in each piece of brewing equipment. This means the cleaning solution would be flushed through one piece of equipment at a time—extending the cleaning process efforts, but cutting down on resources.
Fibonacci Brewing Company
Origin of Species, English Mild Ale, 4.3% A.B.V.
Fibonacci Brewing Company reused water from the brew process of Origin of Species to feed the brewery property's vegetation—much of which is grown for the purpose of experimenting with flavors, as well as large-scale batches. The brewery uses its homegrown lemon balm, mint, black raspberries and bee-curated honey.
HighGrain Brewing Company
Northern Exposure, Norwegian Table Ale, 4.6% A.B.V.
HighGrain Brewing Company developed Northern Exposure as a carbon-neutral beer. This achievement was made possible through a combination of sustainability efforts. Ingredients were locally sourced from as close as 6 miles away in Loveland, Ohio. The brewery’s power comes from renewable wind power, and its heating and cooling is generated by the company's own geothermal system. Also, HighGrain purchased a carbon credit earned from planting trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The sustainability aspects of its beer even spilled over to HighGrain's menu, which includes biscuits made of spent grain from the brewing process.
Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati
Queen City Saison, Saison, 7.5% A.B.V.
Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati focused on water reclamation while brewing Queen City Saison and took measures to recycle cleansers and sanitizers during the cleaning process. Furthermore, spent grains were given to a local farmer, providing food for livestock and continuing an ongoing practice for the brewery.
Swine City Brewing
Girl Got Reasons, Gose Ale, 3.7% A.B.V.
Swine City Brewing altered several aspects of the brewing process to create Girl Got Reasons. Half of the standard amount of grain was used, and 1,200 gallons of water was saved by eliminating a cooling process. Plus, wastewater was collected and used for cleaning. In addition, the sour style beer doesn’t require the use of much hops, and the boil period is short, which saves energy.
Our first round of Sustainable Suds was a success! We had a great time networking with colleagues and learning more about sustainable brewing during our on-site tours. So far, we have raised over $1,500 for our community service projects. There has been strong interest in the competition around the state, and we hope to roll it out statewide in 2020.