A Message From Our Sustainability Coordinator
Happy World Water Day, friends! Liz Wonder here, Founders’ Sustainability Coordinator. It seems unfair that the thing that gives us all life only gets a one-day celebration, but, rest assured, water is top of mind for us here at Founders. Its use, preservation and, of course, beer-making value does not go unappreciated.
How We Save Water
We use water – a lot of water. We also work very hard to make sure that the water we bring in to our brewery is either made into beer (yay!) or is well utilized before continuing on its journey to the city water reclamation facility.
In the 10 years since we moved into our current building we’ve been working hard to find water savings in each stage of the brewing process. Here are just a few examples:
- In the brewhouse, we heat our vessels with steam, and when that steam cools into water, we send it back to our boiler to become steam again.
- In our cellars we use an automated cleaning process that reduces the amount of water needed to get our tanks squeaky clean by about 30%.
- In packaging we’ve made upgrades to our canning and bottling lines that are able to save us a total of almost 75 gallons of water for every hour that those lines are running.
These actions add up quickly. Last year we used two gallons less for each barrel of beer we produced and packaged than we did in 2015 and our goal for 2018 is to use four gallons less than we did in 2015. If we are successful in this year’s goal it will end up being over two million gallons of water saved!
How We Help Our Community Protect Water
We don’t just care about the water that we use in our brewery. We work with several organizations in the community to preserve our water resources for everyone’s use and enjoyment.
Each August we host Tribute on the Grand to support Grand Rapids Whitewater and their efforts to revitalize the Grand River and put the namesake rapids back in the Grand for everyone’s enjoyment.
We participate in and sponsor WMEAC and The Mayor’s Grand River Cleanup. This annual event has helped remove thousands of pounds of waste from the Grand River and has brought together folks from all of the surrounding communities in a common goal.
In 2017 we launched our Big Pitcher program, which is our way of giving back to the community that has supported us and helped us become the brewery we are today. Part of that program is a national sponsorship to The Conservation Alliance whose primary focus is to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. Last year they had two major successes in Michigan, one was securing land and river areas for preservation, and the other was an ongoing project to remove a series of dams in the Upper Peninsula.
All in all, we are extremely proud of the work that we have done here, and we hope you are too! So raise a pint with us to celebrate and protect that life-giving liquid.