We believe that good companies are good neighbors. And, we don’t view our definition of neighbors as only the people around us – Instead, our neighborhood includes our landscape, our local streets, and our local parks and plants and animals, too.
We’re here to make good beer and a better world. So as we celebrate Earth Day, we invite you to raise a glass of good cold beer to our lovely planet and learn a bit about how we’ve worked to up our green game here at Creature Comforts in 2021. Read on for a Q&A with our Sustainability Lead, Jacob Yarbrough.
We recently installed solar panels at both of our Athens’ facilities. Can you tell us more about these and how they will help Creature’s energy usage?
Solar arrays are rated by how much power they can provide at peak production during summer months. The Southern Mill production facility has a 165-kilowatt solar array, and the taproom at Snow Tire has a 27-kilowatt solar array. Southern Mill uses around 360 kilowatts total so that the solar array can provide 45% of the facility’s needs. When combined with our existing purchases of Renewable Energy Credits through Georgia Power, it’s definitely possible that Creature Comforts can meet 100% of our electrical energy demand from renewable sources this summer.
What are the details of our partnership with DaySpring Farms, and why did we decide to source their wheat for Athena?
Last year we began a pilot program to incorporate DaySpring wheat into Athena to test whether we could make a large-scale switch, and the results were fantastic. We decided to partner with DaySpring because we believe they grow the best organic wheat in Georgia. Moving from our original Canadian wheat supplier to a local farm reduces transportation emissions, adds resiliency to our supply chain, and keeps more of our dollars in the local economy.
How do we track our resource usage?
Tracking resource usage (for us: water, electricity, natural gas, CO2, and solid waste generation) helps us understand how well we perform as a manufacturer. Reducing our resource usage is beneficial both to the economic bottom line and the environmental bottom line. We track each individual resource in two ways: aggregated, facility-level usage, and disaggregated specific instance use. Aggregated data is as simple as looking at utility bills and comparing them to beer output to develop a ratio – gallons of water used per gallon of beer packaged – while disaggregate data requires equipment like flowmeters, current transducers, etc. to measure specific instances of resource usage to look for reduction opportunities.
What kind of efforts have we made to reduce waste?
We follow zero-waste recommendations for right-sizing collection containers, ensuring that we’re offering recycling/composting collection with each trash can. We’ve also changed over to recyclable cardboard boxes for most canned beer, which reduces the amount of plastic waste we generate by a significant amount. Our number one waste product by weight – spent grain – is used as livestock feed, so it avoids the landfill completely.
What does the future of sustainability look like for CCBC?
We’re just getting started. We’re looking at pursuing independent certifications – zero waste, LEED, potential offsets, and carbon-neutral brews – the sky is the limit with sustainability at CCBC.
Anything else you’d like to share about sustainability at Creature Comforts?
Sustainability can be a bit of a buzzword, something that can mean different things to different people – I want people to know that the work we do here is interwoven within the core of operations—authenticity matters. Sustainability isn’t something that can be achieved easily, and it requires ongoing work from a lot of people, but we’re committed to continuing to improve.
While we are always on the lookout for new ways to improve, we’re committed to our community and to the Earth to continue to do our part to make sure you’re proud to hold a Creature Comforts beer in your hand.
Cheers to you, Mother Earth.