Pollution Prevention for Craft Breweries

Many craft breweries are leaders in sustainable development and/or sustainable operations. Though many are fairly small operations, craft brewers impart an environmental footprint due to energy and water consumption, packaging and other wastes, and high-strength wastewater generation that is increasingly putting demands on local wastewater treatment plants.

Craft brewers, especially some of the smaller breweries, may lack resources to manage the impacts of their operations.

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.

Free environmental assistance is available to craft brewers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, through August 2022.  PPRC can provide useful resources, case studies, and analysis of P2 and wastewater reduction opportunities, to improve both environmental and economic performance.  Contact PPRC by email if interested.

  • The US EPA has compiled a factsheet, Brewing Success with P2 Grantees, with best environmental practices for brewery operations using examples from breweries across the country.  Page 3 links to numerous references and resources.

  • Brewers Association – Water & Wastewater Sustainability Manual – A consolidated resource for effective water and wastewater management solutions in the craft brewers segment, for small brewers just beginning to explore water and wastewater reduction, as well as new ideas for brewers that are looking to improve a well-established program or build improved efficiency into expansions or new facilities. Tools are presented to integrate water use reduction and conservation measures into everyday operations and identify on-site wastewater treatment opportunities.

  • New York State’s Sustainable Brewery Summit – A recorded training and best practices session in water and chemical use reduction, waste reduction, and energy efficiency.

  • This “Topic Hub” by PPRC is a little dated, but details P2 opportunities and best practices for the craft brewing industry, in the latter half of the document.

  • Energy Treasure Map for Microbreweries, Gather staff and conduct an energy “Treasure Hunt” at your facility.  

  • Sustainability Breweries Portal from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, provides many case studies and excellent information on best practices.

  • Sustainable Spirits Initiative, managed by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, offers sustainability tools, webinars, and annual summits for spirits producers.

  • Brewers Association – Sustainability Benchmarking Reports – The report includes utility and production data from breweries around the country, representing a variety of geographic locations and brewing scales. The report also “provides a platform to share best practices to identify how to use water more efficiently, generate less wastewater and solid waste, decrease total energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The Brewers Association is also offering Benchmarking Tools that allow brewers to compare utility usage data to other participating breweries.

  • Brewers Association – Solid Waste Reduction Manual – This solid waste sustainability manual is a consolidated resource for effective solid waste management solutions in the craft brewers segment. Solutions offered can apply to all breweries, regardless of location and operational size. Guidance is provided for brewers that are just beginning to explore solid waste reduction programs, as well as for brewers that are looking to improve a well-established program.

  • Brewers Association – Energy Sustainability Manual – This energy sustainability manual is a consolidated resource for effective energy management and GHG reduction solutions in the craft brewers segment. Solutions outlined can apply to all breweries, regardless of location and operational size. Guidance is provided for brewers that are just beginning to explore energy management and GHG reduction programs, as well as for brewers that are looking to improve a well-established program.

Beer Glass

Resources & Factsheets