Booze | May 7, 2023 3:57 pm

This Long-Running Craft Brewery Is Embracing New Ways of Sustainability

How sustainable is your beer of choice?

Alaskan Brewing beer cans
Alaskan Brewing Company is trying out innovative methods with sustainability in mind.
Alaskan Brewing Company

Sustainability is a challenge for breweries large and small — and it can manifest in a number of ways, from the actual brewing of beer to the methods used to distribute it locally and nationally. Those concerns are even more magnified when it comes to, say, the city of Juneau, Alaska, which is famously inaccessible via automobile from the rest of the state.

And yet Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Company appears to be in the midst of several laudable initiatives when it comes to embracing sustainable practices. A recent article in Modern Farmer by Ruvani de Silva chronicles the steps the brewery has taken over the years — and ponders what other breweries, large and small, might learn from them.

As the article explains, the location of the brewery — which was founded in 1986 — meant that its founders, Marcy and Geoff Larson, needed to think in unorthodox ways from day one. Bringing in malt over the water is one aspect of this cited in de Silva’s reporting. The brewery has also faced larger challenges, such as trying to achieve a status close to carbon neutrality.

“We had to think of capturing CO2 and spent grain in an unusual fashion because we had no other options,” Geoff told Modern Farmer. This include utilizing spent grain to fuel the brewery’s boiler.

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Alaskan Brewing isn’t the only brewery to explore sustainable methods or technology — beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev has spoken of its own handling of sustainability within its growth plans, while the New York State Brewers Association is collecting sustainability resources for its members to utilize. Is the future of beer sustainable? One hopes the answer there is a resounding “yes.”