Site Visit: Odell Brewing, Adding to the List of Sustainable Breweries | 2nd Green Revolution

Site Visit: Odell Brewing, Adding to the List of Sustainable Breweries

The proliferation of breweries in Colorado is truly amazing. Growth in the industry has been explosive in the last twenty years. According to Rocky Mountain Brewing News there are currently 90 breweries in Colorado. The tour guide stated that were only 2 breweries in Colorado before Odell. In 1989, Odell Brewing started fermenting their flagship beer, 90 Schilling. Located in Fort Collins, home to fellow brewer New Belgium Brewery, Odell produces 46,000 barrels (at 31 gallons each) of beer annually. Concentrated in the western and Midwestern states (including their most recent expansion to Minnesota), Odell brews beer with a sustainability angle.

Once the barley and hops used to give beer its distinctive aroma and taste have been “spent”, the grains are sent to a local farmer who mixes it into his animals’ feed. After fermentation, the beer is bottled in glass that is made of 70% recycled material and comes from Windsor (less than 10 miles away).

Odell Brewing recently finished upgrades to their facilities. Mentioned in a press release from last year, “The brewery will work with Abound Solar on a roof mounted photovoltaic system. Abound’s solar panels, installed by Wirsol, will generate 50 KW of energy.” The tour guide mentioned that there are 340 solar panels covering the structure’s roof. Installed by Fort Collins based Wirsol, the panels generate roughly 37% of the brewery’s energy. An energy monitor in the lobby indicates the amount of power consumed by the facility. In addition, the renovation included solar tubes. These fixtures (discussed here in an earlier post) “provide natural lighting, and a day-lighting system will actually turn off light fixtures when this natural light is sufficient. The brewery will also include a water recovery system in its bottling line that will capture clean rinse water and use it for landscape irrigation.” To further reduce water consumption, drought-resistant plants were part of the landscape design.

To reduce runoff from storms, permeable pavers from Borgert were used instead of asphalt or concrete. According to the press release, “These porous pavers will be showcased by the city of Fort Collins as one of their Low Impact Development Pilot Projects.”

On the social equity front, the brewery has a charity of the month. Proceeds from their taster trays (of which there are three combinations), go to the charity. In addition, the tip jar has a predestined recipient (other than the employees) posted on the jar itself.

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