Driving Sustainability Amongst Breweries

News 26 Jul 2022


Many businesses are addressing climate concerns through responsible business practices. This is particularly true for breweries as the overall brewing process is energy-intensive and it is critical these businesses aim to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, some breweries are investing in sustainability through renewable energy and heat recovery, whereas some breweries are focusing on recycling and reusing glass bottles to help maximise the reusability of glass bottles, reducing the reliance on manufacturing new glass bottles or relying on other materials.

How can craft breweries contribute towards sustainability?

There are numerous areas in which breweries impact sustainability due to the way breweries operate:

  1. Packaging & distribution
  2. Sourcing of ingredients
  3. Energy & water consumption/disposal

Packaging & Distribution

Making this operation more sustainable is a significant challenge for breweries, especially craft breweries as they tend to consist of glass bottles, aluminum cans, and steel kegs. The reduction in weight of aluminium cans can reduce the energy required for transportation of the beer. Glass bottles for breweries present opportunities to enhance sustainability as this material can be put through a return and wash process, which reduces the requirement to purchase new bottles regularly, with original bottles being reused long-term and can have a positive impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions. Furthermore, there have been significant developments in sustainable packaging for breweries, including:

  • Replace single-use six-pack plastic rings replaced with compostable alternatives, Carlsberg introduced their plastic-reducing Snap Pack packaging and there are also paper-alternatives live in the market.
  • Carlsberg introduced the “Green Fibre Bottle” which is made from sustainably sourced wood fibre and contains a plant-based PEF polymer lining.
  • Smith & McLaurin launches PWP1018 innovative wash-off adhesive which washes off during the glass bottle wash & returns process and is certified by the OBRC. Discover more about how your brewery can benefit from this innovative PSL adhesive.

Sourcing of ingredients

For beer brewing, raw materials required include grains (barley, wheat, oats), hops, water, and yeast. Each of these ingredients has its own journey even before it reaches the brewery. Along the supply chain, there are opportunities to improve their sustainability, and therefore the sustainability of beer brewing in general. Due to this, it is recommended beer brands take the sourcing of their ingredients into account, making sustainable decisions around the sourcing of ingredients can also help bridge the gap as consumers often pay attention to where ingredients are sourced from when brands make claims of sustainability.

Energy & water consumption/disposal

Many breweries are looking to decrease their energy consumption, water use, and overall pollution during the brewing process. For example, Heineken is replacing breweries and offices with solar power and will replace existing gas boilers with alternatives that use biomass. This fits in with their plans to be 100% carbon neutral by 2023. On the other hand, BrewDog is planting millions of native trees in the Scottish Highlands with the core objective of pulling 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Finally, another strategic tactic using impressive technology and equipment is BrewDog in their ability to launch a vodka that is made entirely from waste that is also packaged in a paper bottle.

Learn More

Our team has over 170 years of experience manufacturing label materials for brands in the beers, wine, and spirits industry. We offer a wide-range of sustainable label face materials and our PWP1018 adhesive is perfect for breweries and the glass bottle returns/wash process. If you would like to learn more, speak to our team about how we can help maximise your label or adhesive sustainability story.

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