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With an eye toward the environment, responsible farming and our agricultural future, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is known for its closed loop systems. For example, nearly 100 percent of solids leftover from the beer-making process are saved and sold to another company to provide feed for cattle at farms within a 75-mile radius of the brewery, diverting waste away from a landfill, and in turn providing the meat that eventually ends up on the restaurant’s menu. In Chico, they have a partnership with the local Chico State Farm to raise their own herd of cattle on spent brewing ingredients.
Additionally, compost generated at the plant is used to fertilize grain fields and a two-acre, organic vegetable garden, saving money and adding to the company’s green credentials.
The brewery is powered through the plant’s cogeneration system, with up to 76 percent of their energy directly generated onsite through the use of 10,753 solar panels and four 250-kilowatt cogeneration hydrogen fuel cells, installed in 2005. The 800-degree exhaust heat energy from fuel cells also provides steam for brewing operations.
Sierra Nevada also participates in the EPA’s Smartway Program, which aims to reduce fuel consumption and improve efficiency in truck fleets. With that goal in mind, they recapture their own CO2, a natural byproduct of fermentation, that’s used for purging cans and bottles, rather than buying four or five trucks worth every week that would otherwise be required.
The company supports various agencies and organizations with the goal of bettering society from sustainable agriculture, clean water and wild-land protection, to bicycle-related activities as a way to solidify their commitment to the environment.