Full Sail Brewing was honored by the State of Oregon for their outstanding commitment to sustainable business practices. The Brewery received the Governor’s Sustainability Award for small business. The State of Oregon, ranked the greenest state in the nation by Forbes.com and Business Facilities Magazine, presents the awards annually to innovative companies and organizations that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to sustainability.
The second annual Governor’s Sustainability Awards were recently presented by Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury as part of the Oregon Business Council’s Leadership Summit. The Oregon Sustainability Board selected winners from more than 50 nominations.
“Businesses increasingly understand that sustainability benefits the bottom line in three ways,” said Bradbury, who also chairs the Oregon Sustainability Board. “First it helps the economy, second, the environment and third, our citizens.”
The judges noted that Full Sail demonstrated outstanding sustainability practices in social equity, energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, use of recycled materials, procurement of local ingredients, community involvement, and waste management.
“To be acknowledged for our sustainable business practices by Oregon, a state that has been at the forefront in its commitment to responsible business practices is an honor. For us, this sense of responsibility has been part of our core principals since we first started brewing beer over 21 years ago. Over the years we have been committed to being stewards of the environment and have remained dedicated to operating our brewery in the most responsible manner possible. As an employee owned company we share this award with our all employees who are a key part of our daily commitment to these practices. Open communication and suggestions from employees have contributed greatly to the success of managing and maintaining a socially and environmentally fair business,” said Irene Firmat, Full Sail’s Founder and CEO.
“Our brewery’s amazing location nestled between the Columbia River and the snow-capped peak of Mt. Hood, in Hood River, Oregon makes us all feel a deep connection for our surroundings. Employees are the owners at Full Sail – and because Oregon is our home – we feel empowered to run the brewery in the most responsible manner every day. As much as we are committed to brew great beers, we are also committed to our community. It would be impossible to live and work in the Columbia River Gorge and not be inspired by the sheer beauty of the place. It is the blue skies, green forests, snow-capped mountains and pristine rivers surrounding us that insure our dedication,” added Jamie Emmerson, Full Sail’s Executive Brewmaster.
Some of the company’s sustainability measures include:
- Efficient brewhouse: The brewery is as sustainable and efficient as possible, starting with the parts of the building that were reclaimed and recycled when the brewery first opened in the old Diamond Fruit cannery. The company utilizes energy measures such as energy-efficient lighting and air compressors, and compresses the work week into four very productive days, which helps reduce water and energy consumption by 20 percent.
- Sustainable brew process: Pure water literally flows from the peaks that surround the brewery, so Full Sail takes care to conserve this precious resource. While average breweries consume six to eight gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced, Full Sail has reduced its consumption to a mere 3.45 gallons, and operates its own on-site wastewater treatment facility. Local farms supply the other essential ingredients for award-winning brews: 85 percent of hops and 95 percent of barley come straight from Northwest farms.
- Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: Full Sail uses 100% recycled paperboard on all its packaging (and was one of the first in the industry to commit to long-term purchasing of recycled paper products). Everything from office paper to glass to stretch wrap to wooden pallets is recycled. Even dairy cows are beneficiaries of brewery waste: 4,160 tons of spent grain and 1,248 tons of spent yeast are sent back to farmers every year to use as feed for cows.
- Community-wide practices: Full Sail purchases 140 blocks of Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy per month. This practice results in the reduction of 168 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of planting 33,000 trees. Full Sail also supports over 300 events and charities each year, with a focus on those in Oregon. Employees at the company have inspired environmental change among other businesses in the Hood River area as well. Full Sail was a founding member of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce’s Green Smart program, an initiative that helps businesses and organizations within the Hood River watershed increase their productivity and profitability by improving resource efficiency and by reducing waste and pollution.
Earlier this year, Full Sail was honored with a BEST (Businesses for an Environmental Sustainable Tomorrow) award by The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development for their energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies and for demonstrating a commitment to responsible business practices and innovation in sustainability. In addition the company’s Portland Riverplace Brewery and offices received recognition as a RecycleWorks business for its excellent track record of recycling, reducing waste and buying environmentally preferable products.