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Collaborative webinars aim to support craft beverage industry

Date: July 01, 2021

The free, three-part Sustainable Solutions for Craft Beverage Producers Webinar Series – a collaboration between NHDES’ Pollution Prevention Program, EPA’s Region 1 Pollution Prevention Program and EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program – recently concluded with “How to Cultivate a Culture of Sustainability at Your Facility.” This last webinar in the series featured three New England breweries who are leaders in crafting beer and protecting the environment, including New Hampshire’s own Nicole Carrier from Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, New Hampshire.

Throwback was chosen to represent New Hampshire for this webinar because of its commitment to building a sustainable, community-oriented farm/brewery that sources locally. Throwback always strives to improve their business operations to lessen their impact on the local and global environment by conserving energy, water and other natural resources, reducing waste generation, recycling, and reducing use of toxic materials.

The brewery is a leader in sustainability because it is committed to environmental excellence and pollution prevention, and to purchasing products that have greater recycled content with lower toxicity and packaging, reducing the use of natural resources. Throwback takes seriously its commitment to crafting beers and food using ingredients sourced from its own Hobbs Farm or within a 200-mile radius. Locally sourcing ingredients reduces the amount of energy used and carbon dioxide produced to transport meat, produce, malt and other goods.

Hobbs Farm is a 12-acre farm that produces a variety of crops year-round, including hops, greens, herbs, fruit and other produce. Chickens and pigs are also inhabitants of the farm, providing entertainment, eggs, pork and sausage, which are used in the brewery’s restaurant. All food scraps and some products from the brewing process are composted. The spent grain, the main output from brewing, is given to local farms to feed to their animals and is fed to Throwback’s pigs.

Another reason Throwback is a sustainability leader is that every time Throwback brews a batch of beer, it saves about 20 barrels of water, which is then used in brewing the next batch of beer – saving over 64,480 gallons of water annually. The brewery also innovates in dealing with brewery wastewater, providing guidance to many other breweries. Conserving water and treating pollutant-rich wastewater on-site protects nearby waterbodies and ecosystems.

When the sun is shining, the 174 solar panels on the roof of the brewery produce electricity that is either used in real-time by their facilities, or fed back to the grid where it benefits the community (and earns a credit). Each year, the system will generate roughly 60,465 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) of electricity, offsetting the equivalent of driving over 110,000 miles in a gas-powered car and keeping 33 metric tons of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere and the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

Throwback takes recycling to the next level with the use of growlers and on-site plastic beer ring-pack and aluminum can recycling. The brewery sees anywhere from 65-80% of guests coming in with growlers to swap for full beer. In the restaurant, glassware and growlers are used as much as possible to wash and reuse. The brewery packages take-home beer in 16-ounce cans rather than glass bottles because cans have a smaller environmental footprint. They are lighter and require less energy to transport than glass. Also, aluminum cans have a high recycling rate and recycling cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum.

Throwback is always looking for ways to make a difference and reusing existing materials in a new way is just another way they exercise sustainability. They incorporated repurposed wood from the barn in the flooring, tables, seating, bar and throughout the brewery and restaurant. The Pollution Prevention Program has enjoyed working with Throwback Brewery and celebrating their many accomplishments toward sustainability, and it was an excellent opportunity to feature the brewery’s work during this webinar series. More than 300 breweries, craft beverage businesses, universities and government agencies registered these webinars.

The first webinar featured Energy Treasure Hunts for Microbreweries and the second webinar explored Innovative Solutions: C02 Capture Technology. Visit the NHDES blog for more information about the webinars in the Sustainable Solutions for Craft Beverage Producers Webinar Series.