News | Dec 01 |5 Min Read

Greener Pastures

Over the past 18 Months, quietly in the background, we’ve been working on a project here at Rocky Ridge. It’s been a natural evolution, from an internal program setup specifically to champion brewing sustainability, to an open, external program that encompasses our values more deeply; Community, Family and Environment.

Our first major project, here at the farm, has been a commitment to revegetating remnant bushland, with over 5,000 trees planted this year, and over 20,000 since our brewery opened its doors. (and 100,000 + over the past 20 years on our farm)

Greener Pastures is more than this though; It’s our way of giving back. To you. To our community. To future generations.

It’s our commitment to 10% of profits going into community projects. Its our commitment to a greener future for all, through sustainable brewing and business practices and commitment to being the best.

It’s our commitment to Better Beer in a Better Way.

We’ve taken a number of steps already, with some major projects in the pipeline over the coming 12 months, our end goal: Net Zero emissions on site, by 2025. Not simply Carbon Neutral, that’s so 2020.

Our Brewery has always operated completely Off-Grid for power, relying on Solar and Battery technology. What began as a simple 30kw system, with minimal backup is now a 180kw, three phase system with over 150kwh of Battery storage. Enough power to run around 40 average houses, daily. We have invested in a fleet of hybrid vehicles to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and as the technology becomes more available, electrification of our processes.

Water is a key ingredient to beer, and a key ingredient for life. Brewing is traditionally a very water intensive business, with Industry averages of 7+ litres per litre of beer produced. We have reduced our in-house water usage to 4.5 litres per litre of beer, with the aim of 2.5 litres per litre by 2023. In order to do this, we will be treating our wastewater as a resource, processing and refining through biological processes. The plan for this involves on site Bioreactors, consuming CO2 from our manufacturing to grow algae, in turn a valuable food source for our farm. We hope to take this further in 2022 and develop on site hydrogen generation from wastewater, which would in turn give us better access to power generation and heating, fuelling further green development on site.

We have commissioned a first of kind CO2 capture plant to install in Q1 2022. This will allow us to capture all CO2 created during fermentation of beer on site, for re-use in our process and excess to feed back into our Bioreactors.

Waste as a whole is an issue for the brewing industry, spent brewers grain, yeast, hops and packaging all play a role in the footprint of an average brewing operation.
Our Spent Grain is fed back to our own animals on site, adding nutritional value and reducing waste to landfill. Yeast and Hops similarly are fed onsite as feed supplements.

Our Packaging is as environmentally sustainable as possible; Our Cartons are made from 100% sustainably sourced Cardboard, our four packs from sugar cane pulp and are 100% biodegradable, we use Cans over glass as Aluminium is 100% recyclable, and lighter for transportation than glass is, taking up 40% less space and less than half of the CO2 emissions in transport. Even the tape and pallet wrap we use is now 100% biodegradable- it will breakdown in landfill within 180 days (and is not plastic based!)

Loss of biodiversity and soil biodiversity are issues we face locally and globally. Our Greener Pastures Program, while encompassing the above initiatives, is focussed on revegetation and biodiversity of existing remnant bush land, while also promoting soil biodiversity and regenerative farming practices. We do this through an evidence-based approach, starting with a 20ha trial on our own farm, where we removed artificial fertiliser and spreay, to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of this type of agriculture. This trial has been running for 4 years, and has shown an increase in soil microbial activity of 120%, a carbon sequestration rate 4x that of the surrounding land and allowed for better water holding, higher nutrient availability, better yields of crops and greater crop diversity through mixed cropping.

Finally, Sustainability to us is not just about Environmental sustainability, it is about the sustainability of our business, of our farm, of our community and of our industry. We have many different programmes underway through Greener Pastures, including a commitment to 10% of our Net profits to community and charity causes- over the past 12 months this has included just over 40 thousand dollars in donations to local groups.

While this is all great to say, its another thing entirely to be able to substantiate, which is why we work with an independent external auditor- Carbon Neutral Australia- to verify these claims, to ensure we are being honest and truthful and most of all, to ensure that our community and our team can trust our claims. I have attached our report from 2019-2020, our final report for 2020-2021 is not yet available, though we expect it to be soon. We take being good environmental stewards seriously;

All Rocky Ridge beers are brewed at our off-grid, carbon-neutral facility in Jindong, Western Australia. Our beers are brewed naturally, the slow way, preservative-free and unpasteurised.

At Rocky Ridge, we believe in making Better Beer in a Better Way, it’s our commitment to positive change, one beer at a time.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. Better Beer in a Better Way. Proudly Carbon Neutral.