On Shades of Green we talked about alcohol, and the intersection between sustainability and how it is grown, produced and shipped. We had guests from a local Austin Texas brewery, winery, and tequila company to talk about the many ways that they try and make their business greener.
Our guests were:
Josh Hare – Founder and President of Hops and Grain Brewing
He fell in love with artfully crafted beer and the fantastic community that supports it when he was living in Boulder, CO in the early 2000’s. He moved to Austin in 2005 to pursue a career in triathlon and the running specialty retail industry and eventually helped to open the city’s most successful running retail store. After searching for beer sponsors all over the state with no success, Hare decided to open his own brewery, focused on the highest quality products and marketing them to an active city loyal to locally produced goods. Since 2011 he has been overseeing the day to day operations of the brewery from recipe & product development to quality management. Since day 1, the mission at Hops & Grain has been to enhance the human experience through the medium that inspires them the most, the artful and deliberate expression of thoughtfully crafted beer.
Ross McLauchlan – Founder of the Austin Winery
Cooper and I started making wine on the side while working for other wineries (production, sales, tasting room, brokerage, equipment). After we felt like we had the slightest bit of exposure to each avenue of the industry, and had the chops to make good wine, we quit our jobs. Austin had a gap in the market, Texas winemaking was on the rise, but there as a disconnect between the Hill Country wine trail and Austin. We set about getting legal and getting our winery in operation within the city limits. Fast forward 3 years, we have distribution to Whole Foods, Central Market, and a range of local restuarants, bodegas, bars and hotels. We just built out and opened our new winery off South Congress and moved out of our little warehouse slip in the Industrial part of town.
On Sustainability: We want to make wine in harmony with nature. We don’t propose to save the world, we make an alcoholic beverage, so we want to do that in a non-exploitative way that is beneficial to the environment, the people who produce it, and those who consume it. All of the vineyards we work with are bio-dynamically and/or organically farmed. We work with bee rescue organizations to have pollinators around our vines, ensuring biodiversity in our micro-climate. This contribute to the soil, the aroma, the ambiance, and ultimately influence the nuances of the wine. We up-cycle our spent grape skins (nitrogen-rich fertilizer), make vinegar (and pickles) with of old wine, and give our old barrels to breweries. Plus, we have one wine in a 90% reduced carbon footprint POUCH.
Richard Sorenson – Founder of Dulce Vida Tequila
According to Sorenson, the concept of sustainability was very strategic in the selection of our tequila production facility. The facility not only had to be capable of making an award winning product, but also had to meet requirements for organic production and overall sustainability measures – being a kind partner to the environment and local community. A complete recapture of all production waste is performed and yields a nutrient-rich soil supplement to the local farming community. Furthermore, as a by-product of waste collection & processing, methane gas is captured, creating an energy source utilized to power the facility.