Saturday, January 5, 2008

Great Lakes Brewing Co. - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Established in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, OH) is a "principle-centered, environmentally respectful and socially conscious" microbrewery focused on the triple bottom line. They recycle waste, use recycled products, and have invested in energy efficiency.

To pursue sustainability even further, they have incorporated "zero waste initiatives" into day-to-day operations. "Our objective is to make full use of the by-products generated from the brewing process," says Patrick Conway. "By taking a 'full circle' approach, we are making the most of potential savings and income-generating opportunities as the raw materials used to produce our products are continuously transformed into a host of food-generating and energy-saving opportunities." The ultimate goal is to mimic nature, where 100% of resources are used in closed-loop ecosystems. This is accomplished in several ways. Certain bread and pretzels found on the menu are made using grains from the brewing process. Brewery grains are also used as a substrate for growing organic shitake and oyster mushrooms. And they also compost waste to create fertilizer to grow herbs and vegetables for menu items. In addition, their beer delivery truck, "The Fatty Wagon," runs on 100% pure vegetable oil.

All of this is quite impressive--and the beer is award-winning, too!

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