Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, A Good Neighbor

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, A Good Neighbor
In April, Cheri Chastain, Sustainability Coordinator for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company presented at SiGBA's Eco-Symposium. It was the first time that some attendees realized the extent of the sustainability practiced by one of the Sierra's favorite breweries. After Cheri's visit, we knew that we had to have Sierra Nevada as one of the beers served at our Tahoe greenFEST in July. As part of their neighbors and community outreach program, they sponsored our event and donated several kegs. We were graced with Victor Esparza's presence as a server.

SiGBA wants to share some of the things we found out about Sierra Nevada's environmental practices. For example:

Did you know that Sierra Nevada has received the WRAP (Waste Reduction Award Program) Award from the State of California for 9 years running? Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has received all kinds of awards:
2005 Governors Environmental and Economic Leadership Award - State of California
2007 Climate Action Champion California Climate Action Registry
2008 Zero Waste Achievement Award California Resource Recovery Association
2008 Flex Your Power Award Winner State of California
2008 Silver Bicycle Friendly Business Award American Bicycle League
2009 Sustainable Plant of the Year Food Engineering

They are light-years ahead of other businesses in their sustainability practices. In 2008 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. completed construction on one of the largest private solar arrays in the United States. This solar project produces over 1.4 MW of AC power for the brewery. This coupled with its existing 1.2 MW fuel cell plant-provides the majority of the brewery's electrical energy needs with clean power produced on-site. Surplus electrical energy will be available to help supply the overloaded California power grid during peak power usage periods. Covering a majority of the brewing facility's roofs, this system utilizes over 6700 Mitsubishi 185-watt lead-free panels. This data represents approximately one third of their current total production. The data from phase two of their solar installation; rooftop panels will be available soon!

They REUSE pallets, super sacks, boxes, packaging materials and paper. Sierra Nevada recycles glass, cans and bottles, cardboard, shrink wrap, paper, plastic and packaging material, batteries, light bulbs, computers, scrap metal and wire, and burlap. In 2009 alone, they were able to divert over 30,000 tons from landfill. There are alternative fuels and other transportation programs including transportation by rail.

Not only is Sierra Nevada good to its environment, it treats its employees and neighbors well. There is a Littlefoot Daycare program, physician's assistance, HOP Program, and employee garden area. They sponsor adopt-a-highway clean ups, blood donations, school supplies drives and the like. Sort of makes you want to move to Chico!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Defines Sustainability as a healthy balance between environmental stewardship, social equity and economic stability.
-Leaving a small footprint
-Think LONG TERM cradle-to-cradle
-Close all loops
-Triple Bottom Line for Sustainability (social equity, environment, economic)

Sierra Nevada's sustainability practices are too extensive to outline in one article. You'll want to check out their website, www.sierranevada.com to read more. There's a lot of content there so you might want to get yourself a refreshing Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a Porter or Stout while you are at it.