Biz Spotlights

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Green Business Spotlight: Fortside Brewing Company

Green Business Spotlight: Fortside Brewing Company

Craft beer and the environment. ​These are two things that Pacific Northwesterners absolutely love (if you couldn't already tell by all the hiking trails and brew pubs). Because of this, we would love to talk about Fortside Brewing Company in Vancouver, Washington; a local craft brewery with a talent for sustainability. Fortside opened in 2015 and became Green Business certified in 2016. Their certification makes them one of only three breweries to be certified in the Green Business program in Clark County.

​Brewing beer typically requires a lot of energy. To start a batch, the mixture of water, hops, and malt or other grains must be boiled and cooled before fermentation. Instead of using refrigeration to cool the boiled mixture, Fortside uses a heat exchange with naturally cool municipal water, saving energy. Once the cooling water heats up after the exchange, the hot water is recaptured and used for the next batch, so the heat is not wasted.

This heating and cooling process is one of the brewing methods that set Fortside apart from other breweries when it comes to energy conservation. To further save energy in the brewery, they replaced metal-halide lamps with energy efficient LEDs, and upgraded to an instant water heater.

To reduce waste, Fortside purchases their raw grains in bulk packages called Super Sacks. This is significant for reducing waste because similar to pet food bags, grain bags are generally not recyclable, and one Super Sack holds the equivalent of 40 of those bags. To further reduce waste, spent grains go to a local pig farmer for feeding animals and composting.

What's in store for Fortside in the future? ​Co-owner Mike DiFabio was excited to share that they plan to open a food cart outside of their tasting room and begin serving food. And of course, they will be composting their food scraps. To learn more about Fortside, visit their website:

At Fortside, kegs make up the majority of their packaged product. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s 2017 report on food products, the largest carbon impact from beer comes from packaging. Refilling kegs and reusing glass bottles have the lowest impact overall, so consider dusting off your growlers and opting in for a refill. It's better for the planet!

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