People, Planet, and Prosperity: Celebrate Earth Day with California’s Craft Breweries!

The director of sustainability and logistics from Seismic Brewing Company, Pat Delves, shared with CCBA a few key ways their brewery (and beer lovers) celebrate Earth Day.

How does your brewery celebrate Earth Day? 

At Seismic, we like to celebrate by getting out and giving back to the community that has enabled us to do what we love. This year, we are helping to spread the word about sustainability in the brewing industry, as well as educating folks on water reclamation and reuse. Our Brew Master, Andy Hooper, will be giving a lecture to the current cohort at the Master Brewing program at UC Davis, blowing students’ minds on brewery water use reduction and waste water reclamation and reuse. We will also be pouring some of our reclaimed brewery process water at the ECOS Earth Day Festival this Sunday April 23rd at Southside Park in downtown Sacramento to show folks that reclaimed water is really, really, really, ridiculously clean. We want to help remove the stigma and “ick” factor from people’s minds surrounding water reclamation, and what better way to do that than with a refreshing glass of high quality H2O? If you are in the Davis or Sacramento area this weekend, come say hi!

What does “sustainability” means to you?

We view sustainability in terms of the Triple Bottom Line- People, Planet, and Prosperity. In other words, looking at sustainability from Social, Environmental and Economic perspectives. Breweries have a knack of being cheerleaders in their communities, uplifting the local neighborhood and acting as a locus for positive change in their community. I am a big believer in “think global, act local”, and I think that craft breweries embody that ideal wonderfully. Sustainability also means preserving the natural world around us and being good stewards of the environment. The Earth was here long before we got here, and it will be here a long time after we are gone, so we need to do our part while we are here to take care of the planet. Plus, California is a really rad place. Who wouldn’t want to preserve that?! Lastly, being sustainable oftentimes makes a lot of sense from a business and economic perspective. Businesses can do the right thing and be a force for good while still turning a profit. In a similar vein, communities can invest in their residents and do right by the environment, all while creating positive long-term economic impact.

What’s the most important resource to manage at a craft brewery?

People are the most important resource at any brewery. Without a quality and diverse staff, the brewery cannot become a vital and lasting part of a community. If people do not care about the mission or quality of your craft, then the beer will have no soul, and that will become evident to the consumer and the community. You can have the best brewery and best equipment in the world, but without an educated and passionate team to run it all, it is just a building with lots of shiny equipment in it. A strong and dedicated work force is the life blood of any brewery- they bring vitality and personality to the business and the brands. As such, I think it is critical to reinvest in employees whenever possible, because with a team that is educated and that feels valued, the quality of the beer will only go up, the processes will become more efficient and sustainable, and company culture will thrive!

Who do you consider a model in sustainability?  

When we started Seismic Brewing initially, we knew immediately that we wanted to be uncompromising on quality and be sustainable from the ground-up. So we looked to breweries like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Bear Republic, H.U.B., Brewery Vivant and Deschutes (amongst many others) who we believe emphasize similar values. Whether it be implementing new technology to reduce their footprint on the natural world, partnering with local businesses, or donating resources to non-profits, I am always impressed by the actions these breweries take to be more sustainable. We’ve been able to implement some really cool technology at Seismic and we’ve developed a solid culture centering around sustainability and quality, and I think we owe some of that to the breweries who paved the way for start-ups like ourselves. Another thing I really admire about these breweries is that they do not rest on their laurels once they achieve certain sustainability goals- they are constantly striving to do better, and as a result, I think it makes the industry better as a whole. Breweries can learn a lot from each other, and I love how open and collegial this industry is. Sustainability is a long-term and globally shared endeavor, so if one of us succeeds, we all succeed. How awesome is that?!

How should beer lovers celebrate Earth Day?

Get outside and remind yourself why the Earth is such an incredible place! Volunteer to do a beach or river clean-up, trail or watershed restoration, or pick up some litter around your neighborhood. At the very least, go for a hike or a walk around your local park. You get to spend the day outdoors AND you get the satisfaction of knowing you did your part for the environment. Afterwards, you can wash it all down with a delicious, sustainably made craft beer. That’s pretty tough to beat in my book. If you do decide to enjoy a beer while you are outside this weekend, please do so responsibly. If you pack it in, please do your part and pack it out! Recycling looks good on everyone!