BrewDog Tomorrow: A Sustainability Update
We thought we were doing our bit for the planet. We took plastic out of our supply chain, we made a protest beer when Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and we upcycled a lot of our waste streams including using our spent grain to feed cows and using our spent hops as fertilizer.
But, after meeting Sir David Attenborough and hearing him deliver a talk on climate change we started doing much more research into the matter.
And then it hit us.
It hit us like a 400 volt shock in a copper bath tub. The blindingly stark realisation that we were not doing anything like enough. And in fact, that we were massively contributing to the existential problem that our planet and our species are currently facing.
An equally stark realisation followed soon thereafter:
If we don’t have a planet to brew beer on, then our whole business is pretty pointless.
Therefore, making sure that we, and future generations have a planet to brew beer on needs to be our single biggest focus of BrewDog, forever.
However, change is not happening fast enough. We want to make BrewDog a catalyst for change in our industry and beyond and since the start of this year, with the launch of BrewDog Tomorrow, we have been on a mission to make BrewDog the most sustainable drinks brand on the planet.
Here are some of the things we have already done:
All of our UK electricity now comes from wind power. And we are looking to do the same across our business globally. We are also working on a direct connection to 3 800 KW turbines which are located just behind our brewery and until this is in place our wind energy will come from Dornell which is near our brewery. All of the electricity for our UK bars now also comes from wind.
Used Grain To Bio Gas
All of our spent grain, our biggest brewing byproduct, is now turned into green gas. We work with a local partner who turns the used malted barley into green gas, renewable vehicle fuel and organic fertilizers.
We are working with the brilliant Arrival to replace all of our fossil fuel delivery trucks with these amazing, fully electric ones. And furthermore we are working with our logistics partners to find ways for them to invest in electric vehicles when they do deliveries on our behalf and as part of this 5 new BrewDog electric vehicles, operated by our partner, will be hitting the ground in London very soon.
Found Some Amazing Experts To Help Us
We want to ensure we make the best possible decisions and investments for our company, our community and our planet. To that end we are working with world leading experts in the sustainability field. Professor Mike Berners Lee is our independent advisor. Carbon Architecture, to help us better understand our carbon footprint. We are working with LOOP on more sustainable packaging solutions and Plastic Free to help further eliminate all plastics in our business.
By brewing beers in the US, Australia, Ellon & Germany we significantly reduce the distance our beer has to travel between us and our customers reducing the impact of unnecessary transport on our planet. One of the main reasons for us to build these breweries internationally was to be able to brew our beers far closer to our customers.
And here are some things in the pipeline:
24 To Zero
Our plan to make our Ellon brewery completely carbon neutral in 24 months time. And in addition a plan to be zero waste as a business in 24 months time. The plan looks something like this:
We have applied for planning permission to build the anaerobic digestor plant in Ellon which will turn our waste water into clean water, green gas, organic fertiliser and food grade C02. We are also installing a C02 recovery system which will capture the C02 produced during fermentation (meaning it does not escape into the atmosphere) and then we can use it to carbonate our beers downstream.
Upcycling Food Waste
Food waste is a major global problem. We are working with our retail partners to find innovative solutions to food waste. Firstly, the Overworks Cosmic series is now going to be made with fruit which has been rejected from our supermarket partners and secondly we are working to replace 15% of the grain bill of Indie with surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted.
BrewDog Tomorrow Bar
We are working with Mike Berners Lee and our design partners at Made Thought to both create a new blueprint for a sustainable bar for the future and glean learnings we can implement across our entire network of BrewDog Bars globally to make them ever more sustainable.
Columbus Hop Farm
We are going to start installing a hop farm on our Columbus campus later in 2020 to help ensure that at least some of our ingredients don’t have to travel between farm and brew kettle. In addition, we are now sourcing a significant amount of our malted barley from within a few miles of our Ellon brewery.
This is just the beginning for us and our mission to become the most sustainable drinks company in the world. We are currently also exploring initiatives for all our breweries globally and also for all of our bars too as well as working across our entire supply chain, with our partners, to ensure the utmost focus on sustainability at every step.
Now is the time to be radical in everything we do.
Let’s ensure we have a planet to brew beer on,