From the farm to the foam in your glass, Oregon businesses are building a sustainable life-cycle for beer through clean energy and energy efficiency.
Craft brewing is an economic powerhouse in Oregon, generating nearly $3 billion in economic impact while providing direct employment to nearly 7,000 people across the state.
The Oregon brew industry is home to farmers, brewers and distributors who take real pride in sourcing, crafting and delivering their delicious product. And great beer means great business and jobs for coastal communities, the Willamette Valley, east of the Cascades and beyond in an industry on the rise.
But anything this great takes a lot of energy. And the brewing industry – like so many other Oregon industries that depend on land, air and water – is recognizing both the impacts of climate change on their products and supply chain, and the opportunities for instilling climate solutions into the way they run their business.
With help from Energy Trust of Oregon, many businesses along the supply chain of beer are finding ways to lower their energy use, reduce their carbon footprint, invest in the future and save money along the way.
Silverton, Oregon, nestled just east of Interstate 5 in the Willamette Valley, is home to local growers of all kinds, including Goschie Farms, a hop and grape farm celebrating more than 100 years in business. Gayle Goschie represents the 3rd generation growing several varieties of hops for brewers across the state.
“As the third generation to grow hops, there is a history and responsibility we have as farmers,” Goschie said. “That responsibility extends to how we use energy and we're always looking for ways to innovate and save."
Working with Energy Trust, Goschie Farms has implemented energy-efficient technologies to save energy and water during irrigation, a solar energy system to power the farm and much needed weatherization of existing buildings.
Chad Kennedy loves his work. And apparently he can tell the difference between a Glacier, Golding, Cascade or Centennial hop varietal by smell alone. One could say the brewmaster at Worthy Brewing nose a thing or two about hops. That’s why he chose Goschie Farms.
Chad and Worthy Brewing also chose to do something about their energy use and carbon footprint. Working with two contractors, Sunlight Solar Energy and general contractor Sunwest Builders, Worthy was connected to nearly $80,000 in Energy Trust cash incentives for producing clean energy and energy efficiency.
The brewery uses the power of the sun through a solar electric system, and keeps energy use low through a combination of innovative design approaches built-in at its high-performance building and ongoing energy-efficient practices. All told, the brewery enjoys estimated annual energy cost savings of $15,900. The patio alone is worth a trip to Bend. Read more about their work.
Blayne Davidson, Operations Manager at Columbia Distributing says, “I’m green minded and I’m concerned about our bottom line. Luckily, the two go hand in hand.” Columbia has grown to become the largest craft beer distributor in the nation, serving communities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The distributor is also looking for ways to lessen its footprint while still delivering clients’ products, like Worthy Brewing’s Lights Out Stout, to a grocer or pub near you.
Through innovative lighting upgrades at the Bend facility, Columbia saves nearly 255,000 kWh of electricity annually, equivalent of a year’s worth of energy from 22 average Oregon homes. Distributing facilities throughout the company are doing the same, as well as investing in new solar upgrades.
Partners on Renewing Brew
Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Their services, cash incentives and solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save $1.7 billion on their energy bills. Energy Trust helps keep energy costs as low as possible and builds a sustainable energy future.
Columbia Distributing is one of the nation’s largest malt beverage, wine and non-alcoholic distributors. Our success is based on the fact that we never lose sight of delivering what are really important—quality products, timely service, and a genuine concern for our customers’ needs. And we succeed because of the enthusiasm and dedication our employees bring to their jobs every day. Whether it’s their dedication to our customers, their dedication to the communities we serve, or their dedication to each other—it’s the people who work here that make it such a great place to work.
We’ve been farming in Oregon’s Willamette Valley for over a century here at Goschie Farms. Our hops find their way into some of the nation’s best beers, our grapes contribute to great local wines, and our other crops nourish people around the world. We love what we do, and we’d love to share it with you.
Worthy Brewing loves keeping it lean, clean and alive. From our reclaimed Cuckoo wood furniture to our compost piles, from our solar panels to our Salmon Safe hops, Worthy’s anthem is “do more with less.” Re-use and recycle are not simply buzzwords to us. We designed Worthy to do our best to get in sync with the natural cycle of life. We’ve tried to limit our carbon footprint. We believe living green makes sense. We feel good about it. We save money. We set a good example. And we believe the quality of our food and beer is higher.