Brewing a Sustainable Future

The Brewing a Sustainable Future effort works in partnership with the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild to engage Minnesota’s robust craft brewing and distilling industries. We are working to find collective solutions to sustainability issues facing these businesses, starting with reliably and effectively managing spent grain disposal.

Spent grain is a reusable waste product, but dependable, effective and sustainable disposal can be challenging. Most breweries and distilleries have a way to get rid of spent grains, but the process can be sporadic, unreliable, expensive or challenging to implement and maintain. We are working together to find collective solutions to manage spent grain disposal sustainably in the brewing and distilling communities in Minnesota.

We are focusing on some specific ways to help manage spent grains:




On-Site Removing spent grain from brewing equipment is physically demanding and time consuming, and storage is a challenge. We are identifying grants for in-house equipment that could streamline this process.
Centralized Logistics and Transportation Standardized, reliable pick-up and hauling is a barrier for brewers and distillers. We are working with service providers to ease the burden of collection and build more reliability into the system.
Off-Site Storage Brewery supply of spent grain does not always match farmer demand or availability for timely collection. We are working to find common spaces for the storage and distribution of spent grains for farmers and other market-based end users.
Other Support Finding long-term solutions doesn’t provide short-term support. We are working to provide solutions like a farmer directory, a best practice guide and example contract language until long-term solutions can be implemented.

The Brewing a Sustainable Future project is convened by Environmental Initiative and the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and its members. The project is also actively recruiting distilleries.

Other Resources


Helps East Metro businesses reduce waste and recycle better through free technical assistance, business recycling grants (up to $10K) and other resources.

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The Hennepin County Business Recycling Program

Offers grants, signage, technical assistance and case studies to help businesses and organizations in Hennepin County start or improve recycling programs, reduce waste and donate usable goods.

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Contact Stephanie Weir at 612-334-3388 ext. 8120 or for more information about this project.