In 2009, Goose Island Beer Co., with funding support from the City of Chicago, commissioned the Chicago Manufacturing Center to perform a product life cycle analysis of a keg of Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale beer and provide the brewery with an assessment of the keg's carbon footprint. With the results from the full report Goose Island had a means to evaluate the impact its kegged beer has on the environment.
The report showed the following:
44% of the carbon footprint of the keg of beer comes from the production of malted barley.
42% of the carbon footprint of the keg of beer comes from energy used during the brewing process.
12% of the carbon footprint of the keg of beer comes from delivery and refrigeration costs.
2% of the carbon footprint of the keg of beer comes from wastes and production of hops.
There are many ways that companies affect environmental change, and each company has to work within the realities of its own goals and values. Goose Island is focused on looking at the following ways to be a better brewery and business in 2010.
Creating a new beer to raise awareness.
As a way to raise awareness for the Green Line Project and it's goals, Goose Island created a new beer, Green Line Pale Ale. Beer is more engaging than data and with Green Line Pale Ale, Goose Island has a way to introduce drinkers, retailers and its partners to many of the less tangible concepts involved in making the brewery a more sustainable part of its community.
Reducing the impact from the malted barley we use.
Goose Island recently invested in a new grain mill that should increase its grain efficiency in 2010.
Increasing our brewhouse efficiencies.
In 2009, Goose Island's brewers, by focusing on improving their best brewing practices, were able to reduce natural gas usage in the brewery by 7% from the previous year. In addition to continuing that focus in 2010, Goose Island will upgrade its system for transferring beer between the stages of production, reducing loss of beer during transfers and helping to reduce the overall amount of energy and malt used in the brewery.
Fostering a culture of stewardship
Goose Island's employees strive to make the brewery better, an employee led sustainability council looks for ways to reduce our environmental impact through personal actions. Here are just a few examples. Goose Island employees purchase enough renewable energy credits from Renewable Choice Energy to guarantee that the energy the brewery uses is added to the national power grid from a renewable energy facility. Goose Island's employee led recycling program results in 96% of the brewery's solid wastes being either reduced, re-used or recycled.
Measuring our success
Goose Island will be using a tool that the Chicago Manufacturing Center created for the brewery to track adjustments in the life cycle of a keg of beer. When improvements happen they will be reported on this site. Since Green Line Pale Ale is brand new, Goose Island doesn't yet have all the data from its suppliers to give an accurate assessment but as soon as the data becomes available it will be published and will replace the 312 carbon footprint assesment that is currently available for download on this site. Goose Island will make updates every six months on its progress.
Engaging with organizations focused on conservation
There are many excellent organizations focused on conservation. In over 20 years of business Goose Island has come into contact with many of them and has provided support in the form of donated beer, donated time or help raising awareness for their causes. Goose Island continues to look for ways to be involved with organizations locally in Chicago. If you are interested in having Goose Island get involved with your organization, event or initiative please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, for every pint of Green Line Pale Ale poured, Goose Island will make a donation to the Nature Conservancy's, Adopt an Acre® program. The donation from each pint will allow the Nature Conservancy to protect one square foot of rainforest in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.