BetterBev Green Craft Beverage Recognition Program Introduced

A coalition of New England states announced the BetterBev Green Craft Beverage Recognition Program, a sustainability initiative funded in part by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Program.

BetterBev was created to help beverage producers throughout New England fully understand their environmental practices, principles, and impact, with the goal of reducing production inefficiencies, improving health and safety, and conserving natural resources. Participating companies drive their continuous improvement by tracking waste generation and measuring the use of energy, water, and material inputs. For beverage producers that invest time and resources in sustainable practices, BetterBev will help them gain efficiencies, reduce costs, and receive recognition as a “green” business.

New England is a craft beverage powerhouse with one of the highest concentrations of craft breweries in the country. According to the Brewers Association, the region is home to over 600 craft breweries, not including other craft beverage producers such as distilleries, wineries, cideries, and meaderies. While these businesses create jobs, boost tourism, and promote economic development, they also use resources intensively. Breweries constantly heat, cool, and clean their operations, presenting excellent opportunities for cost savings. Similarly, side-streaming, reuse, and recycling strategies can minimize the environmental impact of spent grains, wastewater discharge, and packaging. 

“We must constantly assess the impact our actions have on the environment, so we believe a beverage producer’s focus should be on continual improvement,” explained Luke Truman, Sustainability Coordinator for the Craft Beverage Sector Program at the New England Environmental Finance Center, located at the University of Southern Maine. “We’re grading ourselves against a constantly moving target, so we created the BetterBev program with a mindset of consistent effort, striving for improvement over time.”

Since 2022, the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to establish Pollution Prevention (P2) technical assistance initiatives that help craft beverage producers improve their environmental performance. State-based Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs) have reached out to hundreds of craft beverage manufacturers to assess their production practices and provided recommendations to improve process efficiencies. Some states built very effective initiatives around these efforts, such as the New Hampshire Sustainable Craft Beverage recognition program (NHSCB) run by its Department of Environmental Services.

In 2023, building on the success of the NHSCB, state P2 programs decided to launch a sustainability recognition program for craft beverage producers throughout all of New England. This regional approach, which grew into BetterBev, has the potential to increase visibility, drive business participation, and disseminate environmental best practices.

“We were all moving in the same direction, working on similar initiatives, so it only made sense to partner and work together,” added Kathy Black, Pollution Prevention Program Manager for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. “The BetterBev Program amplifies the work each state is doing and raises awareness about how businesses can care for the environment and worker’s health and safety while making tasty craft beverages.”

BetterBev recognition can be earned after a beverage producer’s state oversight organization works with them to perform an audit and assessment of their environmental practices and impact. The audit and assessment covers 10 performance criteria:

  • Environmentally responsible sourcing
  • Water usage
  • Wastewater reduction
  • Stormwater management
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • CO2 use and emissions
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Waste reduction
  • Packaging format and materials
  • Environmental culture

Beverage producers reaching specific performance thresholds over the ten areas will earn the BetterBev recognition. Those that don’t reach the required thresholds will be supported by their state oversight organization and receive the technical assistance necessary to improve their performance and receive recognition. The goal of the BetterBev program is to place every business on the path of continuous improvement, even if they are beginners looking for some basic tips or high achievers that want to invest in the latest green technologies.

The oversight organizations responsible for managing the BetterBev program in their respective state are:

  • Connecticut: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Maine: New England Environmental Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine
  • New Hampshire: Pollution Prevention Program at the Department of Environmental Services
  • Rhode Island: Department of Environmental Management
  • Vermont: New England Environmental Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine

To learn more about the BetterBev Green Craft Beverage Recognition Program, including how a producer can participate, visit the BetterBev program page at

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