sustainability and urban efforts
As a responsible business member of our local and global communities, we strive to reduce our impact on the environment during every step of operations at Urban Chestnut. From energy and water consumption to waste management, we have implemented strategies to become a more environmentally sustainable and responsible organization. We are a small brewery, but we consistently increase our positive impact on the environment and within our community year after year.
Water is used in vast quantities during the brewing process. An average craft brewery uses approximately 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced. At UCBC, we work to reduce our water consumption whenever possible. Cleaning in the brewery consumes the largest amount of water; therefore, we work diligently to utilize modern technology whenever possible to implement cleaning procedures that will reduce the amount of water needed to create a sanitary brewing environment. During the brewing process, we utilize a steam condenser with our boil kettle that saves up to 95% of the water lost in a traditional kettle. All of the water we use for cooling our wort, and a great deal of the heat generated during the boil from the brewhaus, is re-captured and delivered to the hot liquor tank where it can be used again for cleaning and sanitation before it ever goes down the drain.
Recycling is one of the most basic components of environmental sustainability. Thus it is one of our core programs as we seek to become a zero-waste brewery. Our facility recycles cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, tin, wood pallets, glass and any other materials that have a viable recycling stream. We are also cognizant of the fact that recycling is not a one way process, and take care to close the loop by purchasing products containing post-consumer recycled content whenever possible. Together with our composting efforts, UCBC recycles/repurposes approximately 97% of all waste. In 2018, we are proud to say we recycled over 150 tons of cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum annually.
In addition to our recycling efforts, we employ a composting program in order to further our zero-waste initiative. We compost all biodegradable waste, including: food-waste from our taste room, spent hops and yeast from the brewery, and the compostable paper products used in our biergarten & bierhall. Composting helps to divert waste from landfills, and captures CO2 in the soil so that it is not released into the air. This means that by composting we are actually able to reverse our carbon footprint.
The largest quantity of solid waste produced during the brewing process is spent grain. Although this grain is no longer useful for brewing, it is still a valuable nutritional resource that should not be wasted. We have partnered with four area farms who collect all of our spent grain on an almost daily basis. By donating an estimated 800 tons of spent grain in 2018, we support small local farms by offering them a cost-effective way to supplement their animals feed year-round, which reduces the amount of energy and arable land being used to produce feed for livestock and diverts large amounts of waste from landfills, further contributing to our zero-waste mission.
Our second largest solid waste source is spent yeast. Yeast is the keystone of a brewery, as this amazing little microbe literally gives its life to brewers and the beer they brew. Responsible yeast management is key to protecting the municipal water supply network from being overwhelmed by BOD/COD and other suspended solids. Through a creative partnership with Center Ethanol, in Sauget, IL, we were able to divert over 100 tons of spent yeast in 2018 from the waste stream. This saves thousands of dollars annually in water treatment costs and results in our yeast ‘waste’ being utilized as animal feed.
At the beginning of 2012, courtesy of Straight Up Solar, we installed a solar power array at our Midtown Brewery & Biergarten to provide additional electricity to our brewing operations. These 44 Micro-inverters have produced approximately 43,537,371 watts of power since 2012. Then in 2014, we installed 85 solar panels at our Grove Brewery & Bierhall. Combined, these two solar power systems produce approximately 44.71 MWh per year. Continually updated information about our solar power production can be viewed on the previous page of this website. In addition to our solar panels, we offset 100% of our energy usage by participating in the Pure Power and 3Degrees Programs from our Energy provider, Ameren Missouri, which funds and promotes renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Beyond our commitment to these renewable energy programs, we feel it is important to reduce the amount of energy we require overall. Which for example, is why we have converted all of our taste room lighting to LED, and enact several energy saving procedures to reduce our impact.
In February of 2015, our Grove Brewery & Bierhall became Missouri’s first LEED Certified brewery, and just one of a handful of breweries nationally, for featuring an assortment of green and energy saving features. In addition to our solar panel array and water conservation efforts, some of these features include: employee and indoor customer bike parking, 97 percent use of ENERGY STAR equipment, and easy access to public transportation. These features along with other sustainability efforts and economic achievements resulted in Urban Chestnut winning the 2015 Missouri Governor & Department of Economic Development Metropolitan Community/Redevelopment Project of the Year Award, which recognizes the best example of a community/redevelopment project that demonstrates a significant impact on a metropolitan neighborhood or community. Then in 2017, we were named one of the EPA’s sixteen national WasteWise Award Winners for our sustainability efforts in 2017, earning Small Business Partner of the Year.
Other Urban EffortS
In support of the local community and to further reduce our carbon footprint, we purchase locally produced breads, meats, and other products for use in our restaurants. We originally furnished our entire Midtown Brewery & Biergarten Taste Room with used furniture from local antique stores. Our Grove Brewery & Bierhall tables and benches were made from local, storm-damaged wood that was salvaged by St. Louis’ Goebel & Co. Furniture, and our bar stools were crafted by St. Louis boutique craftsman Mwanzi. Additionally, we keep harmful chemical use to a minimum and purchase natural cleaning products when possible.
Our Grove location has a full kitchen, with a bit broader selection, from German fare to pizzas to sandwiches.
Visit our Midtown location for delicious build-your-own burgers, wings, and fries.
Urban Chestnut's third brewery is located in the Hallertau region of southern Germany, near our Brewmaster's home town.