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Green beer


Coop does its part to be environmentally friendly

Heide Brandes April 14th, 2011

Coop Ale Works, a sustainable and environmentally friendly craft brewery, started its first batch of beer with the planet in mind.

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JD Merryweather, partner and director of sales and marketing, said the founding members of the local brewery were already firm believers in sustainability. The trick was making a brew that not only tasted good, but also could lessen the impact on the environment.

“We practice sustainability,” he said. “We live it and discuss ways we can continue to strengthen our program at monthly meetings.”

Coop’s plan includes high-efficiency hot water heaters, participation in OG&E’s 100-percent wind energy credit program, recycled materials for packaging, recycled spent grain, and beer that’s only offered in cans or on draft.

“I think you have a high cost upfront to be sustainable, but in the long run, you win,” Merryweather said. “All these options are designed to be cost-efficient, and you also have less of a carbon footprint.”

When grain is used in the brewing process, the spent grain — which looks like mushy oatmeal — retains a high nutritional value.

“You can either dump that grain in a Dumpster or find another use for it,” he said, noting Coop often gives it to farmers.

One of the major decisions for the business was to offer two of its selections in cans, not bottles. Merryweather said he was unsure if Oklahoma City had a glass recycling program, so he and his partners relied on the sure bet of recyclable aluminum.

“Cans are 100-percent recyclable, and people tend to recycle aluminum more than glass,” he said. “From a quality standpoint, cans protect the beer from light contamination, which can break down the beer, so the beer in cans is actually fresher.”

And there’s another benefit. 

”If you drink local beer, you’re supporting sustainability,” he said. “Other beers have to be transported into the area and travel farther. Not only is local beer fresher, it has less of a carbon footprint, too.”

 
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