Green Breweries

As of 2023, the increasingly popular craft beverage industry in Rhode Island hosts close to 39 open breweries across the state. Although these breweries are an important part of the state's economy, they can negatively affect water quality in their communities if they do not use proper pollution prevention practices. The wastewater generated from breweries, distilleries, and wineries can cause problems for wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) and septic systems from large volumes of organic waste. The brewing process also uses high volumes of water and electricity.

There are many actions breweries can take to reduce their environmental impact, prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and be a model of sustainability. In RI, most craft beverage producers already have a strong culture of sustainability and a desire to protect natural resources and the environment for future generations while crafting the finest beverages. DEM's Office of Customer and Technical Assistance has prepared the RI Green Breweries Program to help them get to where they want to be while recognizing all their hard work. 

Need help getting started? Contact dem.greenbreweries@dem.ri.gov for more information. 

COMING SOON in 2024! Rhode Island Green Breweries/ New England Sustainable Craft Beverage Program

  • A voluntary program to recognize Rhode Island Breweries implementing pollution prevention and sustainable best management practices.
  • Provides free technical assistance to craft beverage manufacturers who are interested in implementing pollution prevention practices and decreasing their impact on the environment.
  • Rhode Island has collaborated with Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to outline regional performance standards.
  • Becoming a RI Green Brewery allows your facility to be regionally recognized as well without an extra application!  

We can help you...

  • Improve profitability while minimizing environmental impacts.
  • Create a culture of sustainability by empowering employees to drive the effort.
  • Minimize natural resource usage.
  • Provide a safer work environment.
  • Add value to your local community.
  • Preserve supply chain ingredients.
  • Enhance your image as a responsible craft beverage producer.
  • Assist with managing your waste stream.

Contact OCTA staff to get started at dem.greenbreweries@dem.ri.gov

The first step to being sustainable is to track energy and water usage, which will guide the development of strategic pollution prevention planning. We call it benchmarking.  Tracking your energy usage, water usage, and waste stream helps guide the development of unique pollution prevention strategies aimed at reducing your business’s environmental impact.

Contact OCTA staff to get started at dem.greenbreweries@dem.ri.gov

Craft Beverage Pollution Solutions

There are many best practices for energy and water conservation that can easily be incorporated into daily operations, as well as solutions that can reach even further and lead to operating cost reductions and new community initiatives. 

Improve Energy Efficiency

Solar array installation

Breweries rely on coolers for the brewing process and have the opportunity to reduce their use and associated costs through the use of solar, energy star appliances, LED lighting, heat recovery, insulation, as well as rebates and incentives. The first step of this process is to conduct an energy audit.

  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar hot water heating systems can harness energy from the sun to provide power to the brewery and preheat water for the brewing process. Fermenter control systems save energy by making sure pumps run only when they need to and reduce beer waste by keeping the beer at the correct temperature throughout the brewing process.

Reduce Air Pollution

Beer brewer checking a pour from a large industrial kettle

The main sources of emissions from breweries are from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) created by the fermentation and filling processes and particulate matter (PM) from grain handling. Breweries can improve air quality by installing emission controls and recapturing CO2 generated during the fermentation process for reuse in brewing.

Examples of air pollution reduction efforts include:

Reduce Solid Waste

Craft brewing Image by Pixabay, cerdadebbie

The brewing process generates a variety of wastes, including spent grains, spent yeast and tank bottoms. Other wastes that breweries may generate include packaging, mandatory recyclables and scrap plate waste from dining, all of which can be diverted from landfill.

Green Brewery Success Stories

DEM would like to highlight and thank the breweries that have volunteered in onboarding this program from the beginning through videos and case studies

NOTICE

Coming soon! Green Wineries self-certification program and resources.