Certified for Sustainability: 10 Investments For Craft Malt, Beer, and Spirits Producers To Consider

These ten certification programs don’t just demonstrate your brewery, distillery, or malthouse commitment to the environment; they also display that promise to your customers. 

We know labels aren’t everything, but in these cases we’ve seen real world examples of how they make a difference. We commend our many partners who support these programs with their participation, and we encourage those of you who are curious to read on.

Sustainability translates in many different ways for companies of all sizes and identities. We think that’s a good thing. Whether their initiatives are rooted in agriculture or emissions reduction, recycling and repurposing, or even employee retention and continued education; they’re all in place for the greater good.

Without further ado, meet our choice sustainability certifications and some of the companies who endorse them. 

A Greener World

A Greener World (AGW) is a nonprofit organization providing several certification opportunities for businesses implementing and supporting sustainable practices in their production. Focused mostly on agricultural production, A Greener World’s growing family of trusted certifications includes  Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Salmon Welfare Certified by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified Regenerative by AGW, Certified Non-GMO by AGW and Certified Organic by AGW (coming soon). 

For farmers and brewers alike, this suite of certification is something to get excited about. The process of getting certified by AGW streamlines auditing and certification of a wide range of practices, helping farms to make multiple meaningful claims through a single audit. With one visit farmers can demonstrate non-GMO, water-friendly, environmentally sustainable practices—and more. By obtaining an AGW Certification, businesses are identifying themselves as a sustainable option, making it easier for consumers to know they are shopping greener.


 Salmon-Safe helps grain growers, farmers, and maltsters, like Mainstem Malt, to manage their impact on water quality and the biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest region. Not only does Salmon-Safe limit impact on the natural environment, but it also encourages the restoration and enhancement of habitats, making Salmon-Safe a great certification option for businesses and consumers with sustainability in mind. 

Craft Malt Certified Seal

This program designed by the Craft Maltsters Guild aims to produce quality ingredients in a sustainable way, proving to be a great option for brewers and distillers who use at least 10 percent of craft malt in their grain purchasing program or specific recipes. The Craft Maltsters Guild will connect your brewery or distillery to a broader range of customers and resources by advocating for small-scale production, resourcing materials within a 5oo mile radius, and supporting independently owned businesses. The Craft Malt Seal assists customers in making decisions that align with their values. 


How can having certified Cicerones in your brewery help the environment? Glad you asked. Breweries that have in-house Cicerone-certified staff members support the continued education of their teams and subsequently, their customers. Better educated servers and sippers equals more opportunity to discuss ingredients, sourcing, and processes that support our planet. The Cicerone certification empowers your business and your community by fostering trust.


Getting certified with B-Corp and choosing to work with certified businesses, you can support a long-term commitment to ethical business practices. This certification that Mortal and Mainstem Malt maintain focus on businesses and their  impacts on employees, community, and the environment. B-Corp promises sustainable business choices by measuring employee benefits for the longevity of employee duration, and also how a business gives back to the community and environment with donations and other means of support. B-Corp assists in holding your business to the highest of standards.

1 % for the Planet® 

Membership to 1% for the Planet means committing 1 percent of your business’ profits to support climate change solutions. 1% for the Planet’s business membership connects your brewery, distillery, or malthouse (or prebiotic and kombucha company like Mortal!) with nonprofits worldwide that align with your values and frequently generate positive environmental solutions. With 1% for the Planet’s partnership advising process, your business will be accordingly paired with an approved environmental non-profit— so you can donate to a cause that fits your passions while also promoting your brand globally. 

Living Wage

Obtaining a living wage certification represents your company’s dedication to a healthy and holistic work environment, not to mention the retention of employees. The Living Wage Network connects your company with several accessible Living Wage certifications based on size and type of business— Riverbend Malt House, for example, is certified by Just Economics in Western North Carolina. Verifying that your company sustains a living wage promotes your business as an empowering workplace.

Oregon Tilth®

Oregon Tilth promotes sustainable farming with its Organic Certifications. In the certification process, Oregon Tilth identifies the need and singularities of your company to help obtain an array of National Organic Program certifications. Because the transition from a non-organic farm to an organic farm can take time, Oregon Tilth also certifies for Transitional Organic. The certification ensures both sustainability in agriculture while also setting your business up for long-term success. 

Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program

Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program aids independent companies in using energy that comes from renewable resources. PSE can help lower pollution levels emitted by businesses or individuals in the PSE Green Power Programs. These programs, including Carbon Balance, Community Solar, Solar Choice, and Renewable Natural Gas, replace nonrenewable energy and install and maintain renewable energy, helping participants cut their emissions up to 50 percent. Monthly member fees range from $4 to $20 per month— which goes to supporting other local power generating projects that can make a sustainable impact.

Brewers Association Independent Seal® 

An important part of having a sustainable business is maintaining independence. Independent businesses often support local sourcing through more access to local farms, customers, and the community. The Brewers Association Independent Seal strives to help companies commit to their communities long-term with a stamp of their promise to display on public facing spaces and beer labels. And, seal or not, the BA offers a Sustainability Benchmarking Tool for its membership— just sayin’. 

Written by Stevi Cameron; Edited by Melissa Larrick; Photo by Rachel Cross

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