Green through and through

As far as environmental impact goes, breweries can be some of the worst offenders, especially those of old. Breweries use lots of chemicals, create tons of spent grain a year, and, perhaps most importantly, use huge quantities of water. Breweries usually use a ratio to express how much water is used per quantity of beer produced. The average has fluctuated over the years but is figured to hold between 7:1 and 10:1. This means every gallon of finished beer that gets produced, between 7 and 10 gallons of water was used to make it. If that doesn’t seem huge think of a large brewery producing a million barrels a year like any Miller-Coors facility. That means for every 31 million gallons of beer a year that they produced, they used 310 million gallons of water. Put another way that is 470 Olympic swimming pools. That’s every year! To combat impact like this breweries tend to put lots of effort into reducing their impact across the board. Solar panels, water reclamation facilities on site, buying green produced electricity off the grid, using green chemicals, etc. Despite our small size, hopefully we’ll get to 500 barrels on site a year, we are no less conscious of our impact. To aid in this we are using a number of methods.

The first one is our green parking lot. Outside of a city in a wilderness area, rain is usually directed directly into the soil where it trickles down directly into the water table. This keeps the amount of water dispersed evenly. However when you pour a large asphalt parking lot it forces water away from the area and into storm drains which can be easily overloaded if they are not constantly upgraded as more development happens. Our parking lot will be different. Made of several thousand thick stone pavers and “grouted” with a permeable gravel, our 35+ space parking lot will allow water to naturally run into the ground and also into the bioswale under our “bierdeck”. This water is then not an issue for surrounding storm drain systems and will not contribute to seasonal flooding and overloading. Because of its design the parking lot can absorb around 3 gallons per square foot, the bioswale can handle 7.5 gallons per square foot. This gives us a capacity of 44,000 gallons (or the equivalent of a 7 inch rain fall in a day) that can be removed from our overloaded city storm drain system. We are also thinking of other ways to be green as we construct our interior as well.

Luckily our interior aesthetics lend themselves to being green already. Our bar, decorative panels and walls will all be clad in reclaimed barn wood. We have wood from a centennial barn in Southwest Wisconsin, pieces of the floor from the long loved Madison institution, Bernie’s Rock Shop, and even some redwood off the old soffits of our builders house! This combined with LED edison style bulbs allows us to have a really unique interior space and still be true to our green intentions.

Nick Kocis