Clean, Green Breweries: Goose Island Beer Co.

Photo caption. Photo: Goose Island Beer Co.

The Green Line Pale Ale cuts down on costs and fossil fuel emissions from distribution – and some of the profits are donated to help rainforest conservation. Photo: Goose Island Beer Co.

The abundant freshwater of the Great Lakes region is increasingly used for craft beer brewing. Breweries compete for customers with an eclectic array of beers and a raft of sustainable efforts.

Some companies recycle used grain, others use recycled packaging. Some run delivery trucks on vegetable oil or harness wind and solar power. Some even donate proceeds to watershed projects. Over the next few weeks, Echo will briefly profile some of the eco-friendly brewing around the Great Lakes.

Today, we look at Goose Island Beer Co.

Location: Chicago, Ill.

Founded: 1988

Popular Beers: 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Green Line Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale

Green Hook: This brewpub has created a special beer to aid its environmental sustainability initiative.

The Green Line Project started in 2009, when the company did a product life-cycle analysis of a keg of Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

“This study is in fact one of the variants where the goal is to understand the carbon footprint for a keg of 312 beer,” according to the published report.

The company studied the environment impact of growing and harvesting of wheat, barley, and hops and of the chemicals used processing beer, the operations at the brewery and the distribution and storage of a keg at the bar.

The brewery created Goose Island’s Green Line Pale Ale that it sells only in Chicago to cut down on packaging, refrigeration and shipping. It has also increased grain production and reduced natural gas use by looking at ways this beer is brewed, according to the project’s 2010 initiatives. The Green Line Pale Ale is used to measure the changes and as a visual reminder of sustainable efforts. Even the tap handle of this beer is created from reclaimed wood from ash trees that were killed by the invasive emerald ash borer in the suburbs of Chicago, according to the project.

For every pint of Green Line Pale Ale poured, Goose Island makes a donation to the Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre® program to protect one square foot of rainforest in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.

  • Anonymous

    Nice piece Lindsay.

    I’ve known Goose Island executives since the company was founded in the late 1980′s. They’ve always tried to incorporate good enviro practices into their production and they’ve been supportive of Chicago enviro groups.

    Hopefully Anheuser-Busch will continue on that path.

    Gary Wilson

  • Bob

    Interesting stuff, opened my eyes to who is trying to make a difference. Great writing!