True North Earns BetterBev Recognition as Green Beverage Producer

Ipswich-based brewery True North Ale Company has been certified as a “green beverage producer” by the recently launched BetterBev Recognition program. The distinction was awarded by the UMass Boston Green Brewery Project as part of a coalition of New England states receiving support from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pollution Prevention Grants. About 50 or so of the region’s more than 600 breweries have earned recognition so far.

Among the notable measures True North Ales has taken to decrease its environmental impact, energy efficiency, water conservation, and reduced CO2 emissions are standouts. Extensive insulation throughout the building envelope and on all piping in the brewhouse, the use of programmable thermostats, and an innovative indoor-outdoor air exchanger used for cold storage refrigeration help lower the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. 

The installation of LED lights virtually everywhere, along with thoughtfully designed opportunities for natural lighting, earned True North Ales an energy efficiency award from the Town of Ipswich. And with a new program instituted in late 2022, True North Ales moved away from the industry standard of using purchased carbon dioxide in its cellar operations and replacing it with more environmentally conscious nitrogen, which isn’t a greenhouse gas.

To help protect one of its most vital resources, water from the Ipswich River, the True North Ales production team uses conservation measures in every phase of the brewing process, including side streaming efforts to separate organic material such as hop and yeast residue from wastewater that gets discharged to the local treatment plant. Annually, an estimated 15,000 gallons (about twice the volume of a large U-Haul truck) of this organic waste are diverted and sent to a composting facility in nearby Gloucester.

When the Ipswich River was listed by the American Rivers group as one of the most endangered rivers in the country, True North Ales collaborated with the Ipswich River Watershed Association to brew a special beer that helped raise awareness on the importance of removing unconditional water use exemptions from state regulations, passing a thoughtful drought management bill, and better coordinating water and climate resiliency policy. The special brew also helped to raise funds to support the efforts of the Watershed Association.

BetterBev recognition was created to help beverage producers fully understand their environmental practices, principles, and impact, with the goal of reducing production

inefficiencies, improving health and safety, and conserving natural resources. Recognition is 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 process covers criteria ranging from water conservation to energy efficiency to waste reduction and even environmental culture.

For a list of the oversight organizations responsible for managing the BetterBev program in each of the New England states visit the BetterBev website.

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