New Column – Sustainability In The Brewing Industry

Standing Stone tap handlesBy Jen Sotolongo

A recent visit to Standing Stone Brewery in Ashland inspired me to finally select a topic for the weekly blog my school, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) requires of its students. A small school, based out of Bainbridge Island, BGI aims to create change agents through their MBA in Sustainable Systems program.

Up until this point, we had the liberty of selecting any topic of interest, so long as we discussed sustainability and business. This quarter, we were asked to pick a single topic for the entire quarter. I had no idea what to write about for three whole months.

While enjoying a pint of Standing Stone’s Oatmeal Stout, I marveled at the brewpub’s sustainability initiatives. Shiny bikes stand front and center upon arrival, waiting for the day they can go home with an employee who has put in 1,000 hours and agrees to bike commute at least 45 times within a year of receiving their new ride. Report cards detail the brewery’s use of energy, waste, and water. And, like many Oregon breweries, they support their local community events.

Experiencing Standing Stone’s commitment to people, planet, and profit led me to declare that I would write about sustainability in the brewing industry as my blog topic. I love beer and want to make this world a better place, so I thought, “why not marry the two?”

Jen Sotolongo
Jen Sotolongo

Almost as much as I love beer itself, I love the people who drink beer. We’ve developed some of our closest friendships over pints of beer at our local breweries, celebrated engagements and weddings, biked or ran or hiked in pursuit of a brew, discovered new places on trips, and have shared countless stories with strangers.

Over the course of this series, I hope to uncover the true cost of a pint of beer by analyzing what it takes, from farm to glass, to produce our favorite beverage. I plan to assess the social and economic factors that come with a local brewery. And I seek to highlight various sustainability initiatives implemented by area breweries.

I believe that craft breweries in general, and especially those in Oregon, are committed to the environment, the economic well-being of the industry, and the communities in which they reside. My aim with this series is not to make us all feel guilty for each sip we take, but to inspire and encourage the brewing world to become an even more responsible industry.

Brewpublic welcomes Jen on her exploration of many facets of sustainability in the beer industry. Look for future posts from her on topics such as water usage, how macro breweries are addressing sustainability, gluten-free beer, women in the industry, tourism, economics, and the people involved. For more on Jen, check out her bio on our About page. Cheers!