Switching to real ale is better for the environment. A locally-brewed beer will tend to mean low beer-miles. Microbrewers rarely use additives and cask-conditioned ale uses no added gas or processing. Draught beer in the pub means much less packaging and a much smaller carbon footprint than tins from the supermarket.
As a modern brewhouse our kit is at the upper end of efficiency; it is pretty good at extracting all the sugars from the malts so we need to use less power and raw materials. All our malt is from England, largely supplied by Warminster Maltings as are about half of our hops. We don’t use any artificial additives and all of our pale, hoppy beers except Bristol Blonde are now unfined.
We reckon to use around 4-6 pints of water to make one pint of beer (there’s a lot of washing and much is used in the initial boiling of the malt)
On the demerit-side at Timsbury there isn’t a gas supply so we’re all-electric aside from the diesel pressure-washer and van. The new Easton Brewery will be partly gas-powered.
Being on a farm is great; all the spent malt goes off to the farmer’s cows and the hops are used for compost. The rest of the waste is about the same as a fortnightly wheelie-bin collection’s worth.
However, there is still more to do and as we look to upsize to bigger brewing kit it will be more efficient still.
The vast majority of our beers are delivered by us in our van locally, so beer miles are low, and half of them by us in Bristol on our way home!
Old Victorian and Georgian buildings are notoriously draughty so we spend a lot on gas for heat, and the electrical stuff (fridges, cellar cooling) does eat up power. Reducing our carbon footprint is very much a work in progress.
We use low energy lighting and water saving gear extensively and whenever a piece of kit is due for replacement we do go for the most efficient we can afford. Glass, paper and cardboard are recycled. We opt for recycled flyers and leaflets. We’re not very bureaucratic and most of our internal communications are by email.
Overall, 8 out of 10 pints we sell are real ale, so that does its bit too (see above), especially as most of it is local.
And, on a purely objective note your carbon footprint per head is much lower if you all cram into the pub than as individuals at home with tellies, lights and heating on! Haha!