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Sustainability

Making Every Drop Count

1 month ago, by Sierra Nevada
Posted in Sustainability

If you’ve stopped by the Chico Taproom and Restaurant in recent weeks, you might have noticed that things look a bit different, at least on the outside.

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Looking sharp, front yard!

We gave our pub landscaping a dapper makeover, but it’s more than skin deep. With drought-tolerant plants, rock features and decomposed granite and slate, the change also allows us to use less water.

California has been our home since we sold our first bottle of beer in 1980, (for many of our employees, it’s been home longer than that), so we’re no stranger to conserving water every way we can. It’s a core value and a part of who we are.

As a brewery, we use a lot of water; it’s the main ingredient in beer and there’s no way around it. So it’s our responsibility to be as judicious as possible with our water usage in every corner of our house—from the Taproom and Restaurant to our Estate Garden, from the brewhouse to our employee kitchens and restrooms, we make it our mission to make every drop count.

"This truly is a group effort," said our sustainability manager Cheri Chastain. "Every single department works to reduce water consumption wherever possible."

Though we’ve done our best to be stewards of conservation since day one, it’s an ongoing effort.

In recent years, we’ve switched from water-based to dry lubricant on all of our conveyer belts, installed flow meters throughout the brewery to track water use and locate leaks sooner, installed systems to recover the water used in bottling and made our automated cleaning systems as efficient as possible. Outside, we switched to drip irrigation and cut our landscaping water use in these new drip areas by 48 percent.

"We celebrate the big wins as well as the small stuff," said Cheri.

And we’ve met our biggest challenge head on: despite an increase in production, we’ve reduced our water consumption per barrel of beer packaged by 25.7 percent over the last few years. Our water-used to beer-brewed ratio is among the lowest in the industry. We hope to get that number even lower in the years to come.

Craft beer is about respecting your community, and that includes protecting the resources we all share. We don’t stand for wasting water in our own backyard—or our front yard, for that matter.