“We have the privilege of handcrafting award-winning beer in one of the most majestic locations on Earth, but it also brings special considerations and responsibilities in the way we brew,” says Co-founder Geoff Larson. “We find that both challenging and extremely rewarding.”
A Positive Cycle
We believe that beer is good. And Alaskan Brewing is committed to exercising environmental stewardship in every aspect of making that beer. It is our aim to have a zero-net negative effect upon our environment by reclaiming and reusing at least as much waste and emissions as we produce.
Innovation is the key to meeting this goal.
We call that Beer Powered Beer.
CO2 Recovery System
In 1998, Alaskan Brewing became the first craft brewery in the United States to install and operate a carbon dioxide (CO2) reclamation system. The system captures and cleans carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of the brewing process. During the fermentation process the yeast creates the byproduct of CO2. Alaskan uses CO2 to package the beer and purge oxygen from holding tanks. This system eliminated the need for us to ship CO2 tank into Juneau, ultimately being better for the environment. This system prevents over one million pounds of CO2, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, from being released into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to preventing the emissions from using more than 45,000 gallons of gasoline annually. This CO2 is sourced from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, versus the most common source of CO2 in the industry — burning fossil fuels.
Mash Filter Press
In 2008, Alaskan Brewing found a way to balance innovation, quality, and efficiency with the installation of a mash filter press. We are the first craft brewery in the United States to employ this Belgian-based brewing technology, which allows us to reduce the amount of water, malt and hops needed to make our beer, while maintaining high quality and consistency. In one year, the mash filter press used nearly 2 million fewer gallons of water and 6 percent less malt to make the same amount of beer as our traditional brewing process. The unique design of the mash filter press also reduces the moisture content in the spent grains, which further reduces the energy required to convert our spent grain into fuel to make steam in our spent grain boiler. This results in a savings or nearly 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.
Spent Grain Steam Boiler
Many breweries distribute the grain left over from the brewery process, or “spent grain” to nearby farms. But we have a problem in Juneau — no cows! So, Alaskan Brewing has been drying and then shipping our spent grain to farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 20 years. In 2011, we put our experience to work by developing a first-of-its-kind steam boiler fueled entirely by our spent grain. With the new system, which became operational at the end of 2012, we have a goal of reducing our overall oil use by more than 65 percent. We continue to invest in this technology, that we believe could revolutionize fuel systems used in craft brewing.