Sustainability Around The Brewery

Rooftop Solar PanelsMaking green beer is what we strive for here at Odell Brewing Co. No, I’m not talking about the colored kind people enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day. We want to make each beer better than the last and a part of that is thinking about the impact we make on our community and the environment. While payback is considered in all investments we make, we place a higher value on what we’re accomplishing for the environment in which we live.  At Odell, we always strive to be better: to better our environment, our community, and, of course, our beer.

 

 

 

The craft beer industry is full of like-minded breweries.  We want to make great beer now and for generations to come.  One way to do that is by keeping sustainability in mind with each beer brewed and packaged.  Here at Odell, we do a number of things to continue moving forward:

 

  • IMG_3285The brewery has 11,000 square feet of solar panels that provide 5% of our electricity and the rest is wind powered.
  • Our waste is currently at 84% zero land fill. We have diversion stations throughout the brewery to help us separate what can be recycled, composted, etc.
  • Currently, it takes (on average) seven gallons of water to make one gallon of beer. We average about 3.8 gallons of water per gallon of beer thanks to our circulation pump that allows up to 3x the reuse of water.
  • Our distribution territory is smaller, so we use less gas to ship our beer.
  • During the brewing process, our brew kettle capture the steam from the brew and uses it to heat the hot water we use when mashing in our malt.
  • Mother Nature cools our beer once the temperature drops below 42 degrees outside. Our refrigerating units automatically turn off to help save energy.
  • The sola tubes throughout the brewery bring in natural sunlight allowing us to use less electricity.
  • All of our spent grain and hops go to a local dairy farmer, Lugene (yes, we named a beer after him) and do not go to waste. Talk about happy cows!

 

Most recently, we joined forces with breweries across the nation and signed the Brewery Climate Change Declaration. Together, we can all do our part to keep the craft beer industry moving forward while helping keep our environment healthy.

The Farmer and Odell

If you’ve been to the brewery, chances are you’ve seen the old beat-up Chevy that hauls away our spent grain. That truck belongs to our friend and farmer, Lugene. Ever wonder what happens to that spent grain once it leaves? Well our co-worker, Emily followed Lugene one day after he picked up a load…

SPENT GRAINS = LOCAL MILK
SPENT GRAINS = LOCAL MILK
Ever wonder what we do with all those grains and hops after it is used to make delicious beer? We load it into a truck and pass it on....
Ever wonder what we do with all those grains and hops after it is used to make delicious beer? We load it into a truck and pass it on….
IMG_3599
IMG_3588
Ever since 1994, Lugene Sas, owner of Taft Hill Dairy, has been feeding his "girls" our leftovers.
Ever since 1994, Lugene Sas, owner of Taft Hill Dairy, has been feeding his “girls” our leftovers.
IMG_3110
Lugene comes to the brewery twice a day and hauls away our spent grains and hops to his small local dairy just a few miles north of the brewery.
IMG_3154
Once back at the farm, the grain and hop mixture is dumped from the truck into a pit, picked up with a tractor and then a measured amount is dumped into a large feed truck.

 

 

IMG_3168
IMG_3194
There, the grains and hops are mixed with organic alfalfa hay, organic grass hay and silage to form a complete feed.
IMG_3235
Holy happy cows! A mix of Jersey, Guernsey, Holstein and Brown Swiss, these momma cows are hungry and happy to have their feed.
IMG_3262
IMG_3271
IMG_3285
As I shot photos, Lugene walked along greeting them gently and telling me their names (yes, the ladies all have names, not just numbers).
IMG_3305
After feeding the matrons, we took some warm milk to the younger cows and watched them enjoy.
IMG_3381
As it dripped from their happy faces, I couldn’t help but get milk-thirsty.
IMG_3333
And if you are a milk drinker and you’ve never had raw milk, you’ve got to get your hands on a mason jar of this rare delicious nectar.
IMG_3416
Taft Hill Dairy produces only raw milk so patrons of the dairy must participate in a milk-share program in order to enjoy. In a milk-share program, consumers purchase a share of a cow, thus establishing partial ownership of the animal and the right to drink its milk. (Google “raw milk Colorado” if this sounds confusing).

Spending a few hours at Taft Hill Dairy gave me an even greater appreciation for the impact our business has on the lives around us.

IMG_3459
While repurposing our grains may not save the world, it matters. Every decision we make at OBC is with a conscience, a purpose and a desire to better ourselves, our environment and our community.
IMG_3521
Lugene could not be more grateful and gracious about his role in our circle of beer. He LOVES our beer – 90 Shilling is his go-to favorite, but he also gets pretty excited about our seasonal and pilot brews. And he can usually be seen sporting an Odell shirt or hat, or both. Even though Lugene does not work at the brewery, he is definitely a part of the OBC family.
IMG_3474

 

Cheers,

Emily

EmilyEmily has been with Odell Brewing Company since 2009 and loves serving beer, tasting beer, talking about beer and occasionally even brewing beer. She also enjoys expensive cheeses, laughing until she cries, and capturing the beauty of this life through the lens of her camera.