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Interview with an organic brewer ? via Bearded Brewing

Bearded Brewing has started an interview series with organic brewers. He recently talked with Daniel of Bison Brewing Company, whose fine beers can be purchased at Ted’s Montana Grill, among other places, here in Atlanta. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here’s my favorite question/answer tandom:

What are some things you do at your brewery to be sustainable or minimize your environmental impact?

  1. Every beer I make is certified organic and sports the nifty USDA logo. Every other ?organic? brewer that I know of ALSO brews non-organically because of convenience. My conviction is to go as far as possible.
  2. Paperless office (I bought Adobe Professional to jockey documents on my laptop?.well worth the price).
  3. Home office (short commute).
  4. Instead of buying and building a resource intensive new brewery, I recently did a brewery co-op with a brewery. My idea is that it is more green to use an existing brewery and bring it closer to full capacity and optimal efficiency than to start a second, private location. It is like a newspaper printing press which can print many different newspapers using the same equipment and people, but the Bison beers has its own exclusive ?editor? and ?sales and marketing? staff and distribution network?.just like a different newspaper editorial board?..
  5. Bought a VW Jetta TDI from Detroit so I could run biodiesel during my sales calls (and personal life).
  6. Sold my old Isuzu Box Truck which was terrible on fuel efficiency. Now I rent a diesel truck about once per week (not biodiesel, but better mileage).
  7. I use recycled paperboard and soy based ink for all my 6-pack carriers?..BTW, recycled cardboard boxes are the norm, so I can?t really take any credit for that.

Also, some general good advice from Daniel: “Brewing is 80% cleaning, 10% fermentation temperature control, and 10% recipe?..sometimes homebrewers mix that up.”

7 thoughts on “Interview with an organic brewer ? via Bearded Brewing

  1. I would probably up the percentage on that fermentation control part. Especially since I got home last night to find my first lager had frozen. Nearly solid. I left it in my kitchen all night, and it was still slushy this morning.

    Thankfully I have paid attention to the sanitation part pretty good.

  2. You should check out Pisgah Brewing in Asheville, NC. Great beers and all organic. Unfortunately, only available around Asheville

  3. Right. I’m a polllack, so that sort of math actually makes sense.

    But, like I said, I have the sanitation part down pat, and was fermenting the next batch on a similar yeast cake. So I stole some yeast, and re-pitched.

    The sucky part, and this is always the sucky part about homebrewing, is that I won’t know if what I did worked for another 6 weeks.

  4. Sounds like there’s another name for what they’re doing to piggyback on another brewery’s unused capacity. It’s called “contract brewing”. Let’s not avoid the reality of the situation, right?

    Outside of that, I’d say recipe and temp control during fermentation are FAR higher proportions than cleaning. Cleaning, of course, is necessary, but as clean, consistent, and well-brewed as Budweiser is, their recipe makes the beer unpalatable to me. Get the recipe and the general process down, and you simply need to keep it clean enough, which can’t be 80% of the operation.

  5. I think by cleaning they don’t mean having a clean beer. I think it’s actual cleaning. As in your equipment, hoses, etc. I wouldn’t say I spend 80% of my time cleaning, but it’s easily 80% of the importance. If I wasn’t a nazi when it comes to sanitation, I doubt my little frozen lager would have had a chance.

    That said, I do spend a lot of time cleaning. At least an hour on brew day.

    Confidential to the Monday Night Brewery: I won’t be coming to the Brewhaha. The free pint glass alone would be enough to get me on a plane from Chicago (not to mention beer, and the chance to ref a mud wrestling match between MNB and Travis), but my wedding anniversery is the next day. I haven’t asked my wife, but somehow I don’t think she’d appreciate it.

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