St. Patrick’s Day is just a week away. Let’s celebrate with some real green beer!

Americans age 21 and older go through about 5 pints of beer per week. That adds up to over 30 gallons of beer per year! We spend $4 billion dollars on beer just on St. Patrick’s Day alone. That is a lot of beer! Imagine the difference it would make if we stuck to brews from these folks, who are doing their best to produce a low-impact, tasty pint?

  1. I couldn’t resist starting this list with my favorite beer: Sierra Nevada. Not only do they make an amazing IPA, they’ve got a solar setup that covers most of the power used to make their tasty brew! They’ve also teamed up with E-Fuel Corp to produce ethanol from the yeast slurry that’s a byproduct of beer production.
  2. Great Lakes Brewing Company has almost too many projects to list here! They recycle all of their cardboard, glass, plastic, steel/aluminum, paper and brewer’s barley. They’re using a vermicomposting setup to produce fertilizer for the food served at the brewery’s restaurant. To read their laundry list of initiatives, check out their website!
  3. Brooklyn Brewery has been powering their bottling plant with 100% wind power since 2003.
  4. New Belgium works hard at producing a sustainable bottle of beer. Kudos for the honesty and transparency of their sustainability report, too!
  5. Full Sail brewery in Oregon just won the Governor’s Sustainability Award for its green initiatives. They constructed their brewery from recycled materials and have reduced the water they use to produce a gallon of beer by half!

I think it’s interesting that my hunt for Earth-friendly beers turned up just as many “conventional” beers as it did organic ones. The folks at Sierra Nevada, Great Lakes Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, New Belgium, and Full Sail aren’t just saving resources – they’re saving money. Especially during tough economic times, I feel like that’s the key to getting folks on board with making changes to lower their carbon footprints. Maybe some other industries could learn from these outstanding breweries!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Gregory James Walsh.