When we first set up Swan Brewery, we decided to keep green choices and sustainability constantly on our agenda. With the growth of the business, we have set in place environmentally conscious ways of working that all the brewery team can embrace. We want to explore what being green and sustainability mean, in addition to the well understood aspects of energy reduction and minimising waste. We have widened the scope of sustainable brewing over and above the well understood aspects of energy reduction and minimising waste, to include the viability and sustainability of communities: communities where people live, and communities in which businesses operate.
We have a network of individuals and businesses who benefit from the redundant materials in our process: spent grain to farmers, chicken fanciers, bread-making local vicars; spent hops to gardeners and allotment holders; yeast to home brewers; cardboard to gardeners; malt sacks to apple farmers; beer to chutney makers, bakers and pie creators and those that have problems with their slugs. The value to us is the reliable removal of these materials plus some benefits in kind such as sausages, pies, bunches of flowers, courgettes and jars of chutney. That’s a win-win approach to sustainable brewing.
We’ve sought to improve our process to reduce energy consumption: as our brewing activity has increased we have been able to recover hot water from the process on one day and use it on the next.
We have had stands at the Hereford and Leominster Seed Swaps, In Our Hands: Seeding change, and Spring Greens demonstrating the cycle of field to pint to garden to plate.
We were named Green Business of the Year by the Society of Independent Brewers, SIBA and were also a winner in their Brewers in the Community competition. We were a finalist in the Herefordshire Business Awards eco-friendly business of the year.
As fans of local food, we have created joint recipes with several small Herefordshire food businesses: Quarry Farm Shop, Luston (ale in the gravy for Steak and Swan Pie); Loafers, Bromyard (beer bread); NIZI Bakery, Hereford (beer in sourdough and used in glazes), Three Fruity Ladies, Shobdon (ale in Farmhouse Pickle). The message about local food, its attractiveness and reach are all improved if there is a stronger story for consumers to relate to and the backing of enterprises with the same ethos.
We have worked with local firms when we have needed building, civil, electrical and specialist engineering contractors. Other specialities have been met locally: pump maintenance/repair; computer support; haulage; printer support; pest control and scales servicing.