The Brooklyn Brewery has always worked to maintain a high standard of sustainability in all areas of our company. As an urban brewery located in a repurposed building, we have a host of unique challenges and opportunities to consider as we strive to be green. In 2013, we formalized our efforts by founding a Green Team, bringing together representatives from each department to coordinate on new initiatives. Through intensive internal benchmarking and metrics tracking, we've already met many of our goals and continue to improve.
See some of our initiatives below, whether they are current successes or ongoing projects. Remember to check back as we keep working to be a leader in green practices.
Our beer is produced in our Williamsburg facility and at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, New York. Both facilities have implemented state-of-the-art controls over the years to ensure that we are as green as possible, and we are always on the lookout for the next idea to put into use.
- 1996: New Williamsburg facility fitted with heat exchange systems to reduce energy demand during the brewing process. Switched all processes to wind energy purchased from the grid using wind RECs (energy credits that support new wind farms to further supply), with assistance from Community Energy. Began recycling spent grain through energy reclamation and farm animal feed.
- 2011: Added high-efficiency boilers to reduce energy use. Installed high-tech foam insulation on all pipes to reduce energy waste. Switched to all-steam sanitation on our bottling line to reduce energy and chemical usage.
- 2012: Integrated steam reclamation to capture energy from the brew kettle and use it to heat our hot water tank.
- 2013: Added an anaerobic digester at FX Matt to turn waste water into methane gas for on-site energy production, reducing energy demand and sewage load.
- 2014: Renovations of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Plant were completed, allowing us to dispose of waste through city drainage. Chemicals and waste produced in the brewery are used to power the new facility and increase generator efficiency.
- 2016: Converted lighting throughout Brewhouse and Packaging Hall to LEDs to reduce energy usage.
- 2016: We’ve partnered with Arbor Day Foundation to offset 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide with roughly 375 acres worth of CO²-converting trees planted in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Our contribution offsets the carbon emitted by our Williamsburg operations-- the electricity and natural gas needed to produce 126,000 cases of 12oz bottles and 76,000 1/2 barrel kegs each year..
Our Williamsburg warehouse has been a distribution center for us since we loaded the first cases of beer through the doors in 1991. It is part of a building block that once served as foundry facilities for Hecla Ironworks. Repurposing the space helped reduce the waste associated with demolition and new construction.
- 1991: Recycle and upcycle old pallets and used shrink wrap.
- 2010: All-electric forklifts and pallet jacks implemented to reduce fossil fuel usage and carbon emissions.
- 2013: Cardboard baler to streamline waste processes and aid recycling.
- 2015: New energy-efficient air compressor systems to reduce energy demands.
- 2016: Air curtains integrated to insulate Cold Box and conserve energy.
- 2016: Converted all lighting to LEDs to reduce energy usage.
Our Williamsburg offices share the same building as our Tasting Room and Brewhouse. We have occupied the building since 1994. Like our Warehouse across North 11th Street, the building was a part of Hecla Ironworks and was reclaimed to reduce demolition and construction waste.
- 1994: Provide separate recycling containers for cans/metal, glass, plastic, and waste. Encourage employees to use in-office stock of kitchenware and silverware to reduce waste from disposable dishes and plastic silverware.
- 2013: Implemented a "scratch paper" collection system to encourage multiple uses of printer paper.
- 2014: In-office compost material collection added to reduce the impact of compostable waste.
- 2015: Switched paper used in office to low-weight environmentally friendly stock. Installed low-flow sinks to reduce water usage.
- 2016: Converted all lighting to LEDs to reduce energy usage. Installed bike racks to make it easier and safer for employees to bike to work instead of driving or relying on mass transit.
The Tasting Room
Our Tasting Room welcomes thousands of beer drinkers to our beautiful space each week. Our trained staff is educated in how to handle the crowds and keep their experience smooth, fun and as green as possible.
- 2011: All cleaning products switched to environmentally-friendly EcoLogic/EcoSolutions products. Removed paper towels from bathrooms in favor of hand dryers to reduce paper waste. Began to collect used bottle caps and upcycle into merchandise to reduce waste.
- 2012: Incorporated an ionized water "Zamboni" to clean the floors without chemicals, ensuring a chemical-free cleaning process and utilizing less energy.
- 2013: Began using used barrels (once used to age spirits, then our beers) as reclaimed furniture throughout the Tasting Room.
- 2015: Renovated the Tasting Room using wood from used barrels to install a new bar facade, shelving, and signs. Installed an air curtain over the main entrance to reduce wasted heating and cooling and reduce energy usage.
- 2016: Converted all lighting to LEDs to reduce energy usage. All plant-based disposable cups are separated from landfull waste and recycled for energy reclamation. Reusable pallet wraps have been implemented for beer transfers between the Tasting Room and warehouse, saving 9,152 feet of plastic wrap each year.
Since the beginning of the Brooklyn Brewery, we have supported an incredible amount of community organizations through our Donations Program. Many of these efforts champion sustainability and green efforts, and we are proud to help them execute their events and push their ideas forward, in our Tasting Room and beyond. These partners include:
- Just Food
- Transportation Alternatives
- Grow NYC
- Charity Water
- Billion Oyster Project
- Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
- Queens County Farm
- Gowanus Canal Conservancy
- Good Eggs
- Edible Schoolyard
- Food + Tech Connect
- New School (conducted waste stream and benchmarking analysis)
- Columbia University (conducted Green House Gas [GHG] emissions analysis)