As a constantly evolving entity, Natural Selection Brewing has a responsibility to explore the future of our industry. We believe that to secure a sustainable future, certain efforts should be made to minimise the effects of brewing on the environment. Producers and consumers alike are responsible for the environmental impact of the beer that we drink. However, there are certain measures that we may take to reduce these effects: measures that we believe are attainable by everyone involved in the world of beer.
The following are the steps that NSB9 have taken, in an attempt to make our most sustainable product to date.
By meticulous calculation of every aspect of our brewing and packaging process we were able to ascertain the product carbon footprint of our beer. This has allowed us to carbon offset, through the planting of native trees, and thus make ‘The Altruist’ a carbon neutral beer.
We determined through thoughtful analysis that our 5,000L brew would be responsible for the emission of 2.34 tonnes of CO2. We were able to professionally calculate this value with the help from Clare Wharmby and her company Carbon Forecast Ltd. To mitigate these emissions we commissioned Forest Carbon to plant and care for 20 trees on our behalf, enough to sequester 5 tonnes of carbon (just over double our required amount) over their lifetime.
Based on our values calculated, Forest Carbon suggested their project site Talla and Gameshope in the Scottish Borders. Working with the Borders Trust, they are restoring this over-grazed land into the wild woods and upland habitats it used to be before animal farming transformed it.
We believe that carbon neutrality is wholly achievable by breweries of all sizes and that the minimal time and cost of gaining these credentials are far outweighed by the benefits they attribute.
The full product carbon footprint analysis can be sent upon request.
Environmentally conscious packaging
In the delivery of ‘The Altruist’, from the brewery to the hands of our customers, we have made every effort to reduce our use of harmful packaging materials. We have packaged solely in reusable keg and in aluminium can. Although cans are effectively single use, they are arguably less harmful to the environment than other small pack alternatives. For example, aluminium cans are extremely light compared to glass bottles, and therefore require less energy in transportation.
We have also been able to use biodegradable corn starch labels, instead of plastic, on our cans and recyclable cardboard boxes as secondary packaging. As a result, our product is 100% plastic free, an accolade that we are extremely proud of, and one that we believe is easily attainable in the brewing industry.
Considering the strain that the meat and dairy industry puts on the welfare of the environment, we made efforts to avoid the use of these products in our beer. As such, there are no isinglass finings used in our product; these are made from fish bladders and used for clarification of beer. Furthermore, instead of using natural yogurt as a souring agent, as we had initially discussed, we were able to use a kettle souring mixture that is certified vegan. In addition, we used local Scottish ingredients where it was possible. Our malt for this year’s project was supplied by Baird’s Malt. Our hops and real fruit purees were supplied from companies in the EU.
These may seem like only small considerations to make, but they have been an extremely important asset to this product’s environmentally sustainable credentials.