The Last Straw

The last straw…

Happy Earth Day friends! What a perfect day to sit and reflect on our business and to shine a light on the things we do to reduce our footprint, lessen our impact on the planet, and brainstorm new ideas that help us be more efficient and less wasteful. It’s important to do these things. What are we without our health? Without the health of our Planet?

A year ago we finally launched our pizza kitchen, finalizing the transition from production brewery to brewpub. This was a dream and goal of ours for years and we finally realized it! In addition to adding incredible food to our offerings, we could now also offer guest taps, wine, cider, spirits, and a full cocktail list. Being perpetually under-staffed and constantly overwhelmed with the volume of our incredibly loyal following (thank you!), some of these implementations took longer than they should. Once the cocktail program was ready to go, with the amazing dedication of bartender extraordinaire Tyler, we did as any bar would – refined the flavors, textures, and appearances of our cocktails, trained our staff on the intricacies of them and the inspiration behind them, and stocked our bar with all of the needed equipment (strainers and shakers, picks, cocktail straws, fresh juices and fruits for garnishes, and locally-sourced spirits that we have a connection to). Wait…did we just say straws?! Yes, yes we did. Old habits die hard and that was a simple no-brainer box to check on the order sheet. Big mistake. Fast forward a couple of months and we have served our last drinking straw. We have all seen enough images of where these damn things end up, and we’re fed up. We hope you’ll understand why we’ve decided to stop serving drinking straws and will never order them again. We’re taking one more step in the right direction.

What are the other things we do at Black Shirt to conserve water and energy? MANY!!! Here’s a list:

  • Recycled and reused a number of materials in the construction of our taproom, bar, tables, planter boxes, and live music stage.
  • We’ve utilized water-efficient dual-flush toilets since day one.
  • Installed energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the taproom, kitchen, and production area.
  • Utilize cloth hand towels in our restroom as opposed to single-use paper products. We are looking at hand dryers next, to lessen the volume of washing and drying involved with hand towels.
  • Offer aluminum foil and small paper boxes whenever possible for leftovers to be taken home.
  • Use leftover water from guests to water our native grasses on the patio and beer garden.
  • Eliminated glass packaging and utilize aluminum cans and reusable stainless steel kegs exclusively for our beer.
  • Designed our brewhouse to utilize a glycol pre-chiller to cool city water down, lessening the volume needed through our heat exchanger to cool wort on it’s way to the fermenters. Also designed the system to be a closed-loop so that water is then transported back to our hot liquor tank and used in the next brew. This has a dramatic water savings as well as energy savings due to the thermal transfer that happens in the process. 
  • Use spent grains in our pizza crust by drying it out and milling it in-house, creating our own malt flour. We also give it to our friends Gus and Kathy who raise chickens, pigs, cows, horses, and alpacas on the grain. 
  • We have recently engaged with our friends and neighbors at Great Divide Brewing Co on a pilot program to recycle our used polypropylene grain bags, cardboard, and plastic wrap at their brand-new community recycling plant. Read more here - https://www.porchdrinking.com/articles/2018/04/20/discover-craft-beers-eco-friendly-approach-to-earth-day/ & https://www.brewbound.com/news/great-divide-brewing-company-wins-grant-launch-community-recycling-program