Your favorite IPA is doing more for your environment than you might think. At Odell Brewing, sustainability isn’t just a hobby. It’s a way of doing business.
Fort Collins wouldn’t be Fort Collins without its massive craft beer-loving population, but it wasn’t too long ago that craft beer wasn’t as common around these parts. In 1989, Odell became the first craft brewery to open in Fort Collins, and the second in Colorado. Odell Brewing Company started very humbly with Doug Odell home brewing out of his home in Seattle. Now distributing beer to 18 states, it is the 22nd largest craft brewery in America.
We don’t always see such large, successful companies taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. But at Odell, Doug and his crew care about the environment just as much as the local community. Most beer is made up of about 90-95% water, so naturally brewers put this at the top of their environmental priorities list. They care about where their water comes from, the water quality, and how to conserve it. They know that if they don’t put in efforts to conserve water now, there’s no guarantee that this quality of water will be available in the future.
Odell has taken steps to reduce the amount of water they use to just four gallons of water per one gallon of beer. On average, most American breweries use about seven! Odell accomplished this by adopting a “Clean in Place” system to clean their fermenters. The fermenters are cleaned twice. Clean water is used for the second cleaning, and then this water is reused for the first cleaning on the next tank. This cuts water usage in half. Corey Odell took on the role of full-time sustainability coordinator in 2014 to help discover more ways to cut back. She said that the brewers in Northern Colorado meet fairly often to discuss new ways to reduce their water usage.
Lately, Odell has been working with the City of Fort Collins on a new water treatment system. The system would utilize old yeast and hops to treat waste water without using any chemicals. This would both bring a purpose to the yeast and hops as well as reduce the amount of chemicals in our water.
But they don’t stop at water. Odell Brewing also has 11,000 square feet of solar panels and also utilize wind energy to power their brewery. They use fans to circulate air and reduce heating and cooling costs. The goal is to be at “zero landfill by 2020” by using various recycling, compost bins, and diversion stations that are dispersed around the brewery.
Odell Brewing has taken big steps to do their part in keeping the environment clean. It’s this sort of commitment to our community that we love to see. Here in Fort Collins, we all do our part to help each other, encourage each other, and take care of each other. Odell is an amazing example of what it means to be a part of the Fort Collins family.