As the closest of the BCorp breweries to my house (a swift 6 hrs), I was excited to speak with the "Not-so-Corporate Communications & Media Relations" coordinator Jen Beauchesne about Beau's efforts and dive into what has gained the reputation as a progressive environmental and social leader in the industry.
I’m a customer that just came in for a tour, “What is B Corp?” and “Why did you choose to become involved?”
A B-Corp is a Benefit Corporation, meaning a business that chooses to act as a force for good in the world. As a Certified B-Corporation, Beau’s meets higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. We chose to become a B Corp for a number of reasons – to set an achievable example for other businesses, to give our customers the assurance of a third-party endorsement of our commitment to social good and the environment, and to help us build a roadmap for sustainable growth as a brewery.
As the B Corp Certification is broad in terms of how you achieve its criteria, what industry specific programs or resources have you used to guide the specific methods you use in your operations? (ie, industry associations, industry leaders, other industries, consultants, etc)
Being a certified organic brewery put us ahead of the game in terms of already meeting B-Corp standards. We did not have to change our operations significantly to certify, but we did need to get better at documenting some of what we were already doing. We bought a lot of binders.
According to the Brewers Association, many craft brewers are around 7 barrels of water for one barrel of beer, do you measure this ratio at your brewery and if so what is your current performance at? Do you consider this an important performance indicator? How does this guide your investments into future equipment/infrastructure?
We do measure, and our current ratio is about 6.7, down from 7.2 the year before. We are seeing ongoing reductions as a result of trying out more efficient cleaning procedures. In addition, we designed the 6 new 360 BBL tanks in the new cellar to use Gama jets instead of the old-school spray balls for tank cleaning. The Gama jets are designed to perform better cleaning using less water than a traditional spray ball. Unlike many U.S. craft breweries, there is not a significant tax or other financial incentives in our region to reduce water usage; we do it because we know it’s the right thing to do. We monitor not only our water use carefully, but also our effluent production, and recently installed an onsite water treatment solution.
On your website you credit the Greener Futures Project for generating funds for a number of your environmental focussed investments (energy, fuels, etc), what was it about this fundraising effort that made it a success? What is your next “green” goal and what role will the Greener Futures Project play?
The Greener Futures Project was a three-year initiative that we completed successfully in 2016. It was successful because we were converting sips of beer into sustainability, as it was funded through revenue from an exclusive barrel-aged beer club. Its success led to us becoming the first brewery in Canada to use 100% green natural gas to power brewing operations, in addition to using 100% green electricity. We have recently begun an investment into green fuel for our delivery trucks, through a partnership with Bullfrog Power. We will also be announcing a solar project in the spring, not at the brewery, but for a local not-for-profit we think is doing great work and worth supporting. Stay tuned!
A quick conversation about energy conservation.
Your supply chain is fairly local, hops from Ontario and Quebec, has this always been the case or have you more recently integrated these sources? Will you be increasing local supply of ingredients? (Brew the change?)
We have been seeking out local ingredients since day 1, but local and organic has traditionally been tough to find. We encouraged the development of local organic hop suppliers by committing to buying certain volumes from them in advance, and in some cases even helping out with navigating the certification process. We have one nearby organic hop farm that is growing exclusively for Beau’s. We have a purchasing policy in place that prefers local suppliers, even if the cost to us is higher, so there will always be an ongoing increase in our use of local ingredients as they become more readily available.
A word about the hops from brewer Brian O'Donnell.
Big ideas for next 5-10 years?
We just turned 10 and made the commitment to donating $5 million over the next 10 years to the community, charity, and the arts. We have established scholarships at Niagara Brewing College to support diversity and innovation in the craft brewing industry. And we are helping start up the first craft brewery in Rwanda – projected opening date is summer 2018.
Learn about Beaus All Natural Brewing:www.beaus.ca
Green Futures Project
B Corp Profile
View B Corp Reports 2016, 2013
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BeausBrewery/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/beausallnatural/
Beaus Points - http://beaus.ca/beaus-points/
The announcement about new corporate ownership takeover...
A little bit more about Beau's.