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December Sustainability Hero Spotlight - Tivoli Brewing Company

Congratulations to Tivoli Brewing Company for being our December Sustainability Spotlight Hero!!

While sitting in the 1859 historic Tivoli brewhouse building, it is an honor to hold one of their beers in your hand. There is a historic legacy in each phenomenal craft. The Tivoli Brewery has gone through many transitions in the past 161 years and the current direction is focused on sustainable business design . The Brew team has pushed the boundaries of production and founded a team culture where their practice aligns with their ethics.

Part of their sustainability journey began in 2019 when they switched entirely from bottles to cans. Tivoli brands span throughout the front range and into the Western Slope, so by choosing cans they are able to make a large impact that hits the triple bottom line (people, profit, and planet). Less energy is used to produce and recycle cans, lowering GHG emissions and saving purchasing fees. (Not to mention, aluminum is endlessly recyclable!) The lower weight and compact volume also positively impact efficient transportation, further lowering GHG emissions and minimizing the cost of shipping. While these factors positively promote Profit and Planet, Ken Hehir, CEO, shared that canning leads to, “better tasting beer!” Happy People: check!

A few years ago, they switched from owning, storing, and shipping their own kegs, to now utilizing the Denver based alcohol distributor, Microstar, who handles everything keg related for them. Microstar is a unique facet of the “shared economy,” as they handle all collection, distribution, and sanitization of kegs shared by Brewers all over the country. The best part about this program is that the same kegs used for one batch does not necessarily need to be returned to that same brewer greatly reducing material and transportation needs So if, for example, a keg is being sent to Pueblo for consumption, then it can be refilled by a Brewer in that region once it is empty. The Tivoli can then receive a different keg that’s been emptied and cleaned locally in Denver.. This eliminates unnecessary storage of bulk materials and greatly reduces the miles driven to return a new keg.

If all that isn’t impressive enough, let’s talk about the brewing process!

Not only are the kegs they use sustainable, so are the barrels, the grains, and the water used to craft the delicious beer. The barrels used to age Tivoli’s beer were once used to age whisky and now they are used to add variation in beer recipes. Once the desired profile is achieved and the specific blend is no longer being produced, then the barrels will be sent back to a distillery to continue its life. No waste; no unnecessary production of new barrels for single use; just innovative ways to further develop unique flavors in their product lines.

O-WOW does it get better, The Tivoli Brewery has also honed in on water!

The Tivoli goes through about 1,900 gals of water per brew. With approximately 950 gal being used for brew water (mash water, sparge water) and 930 gals for process water (used for everything else). That’s a lot of water! The owners saw this volume and realized they had an opportunity and obligation to use the water sustainably. So, in 2016 the Tivoli Brewery partnered with MSU’s One World, One Water Center (OWOW) and Denver Water to purify their water source. After installing a large scale retrofit, they now protect the beer integrity and taste by purifying the incoming water to remove any harsh chemicals used during softening. They also filter the water after use so that there are no harmful chemicals or large sediment loads being disposed in Denver’s municipal drains.

Water is not the only waste products associated with the brewing process. There’s also spent grain. And a lot of it!

The Tivoli Brewery is producing an average of 20, 55-gallon drums full of spent grain every month. But what we have all learned about the Tivoli so far is that they would not just throw this down the drain or into the landfill…not a chance! Their solution to this massive material quantity is a partnership with two farmers on the western slope who

come pick up the spent grain to utilize as feed for their livestock. At 200 pounds apiece, the 55-gallon drums are delivering roughly 4,000 lbs. of spent grain to these animals every month.

That’s a lot of happy cows and chickens!

The wonderful team is doing all this work because, “it is the right thing to do,” says Stephanie Raymen, GM and Director of Marketing . And now they will also be joining the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program’s back/front-of-house composting expansion part of the 2020 Compost Referendum launch. Infrastructure within the Tap House will now collect things like prep food scraps, discarded leftovers, napkins, and paper towels to divert from the landfill into the municipal compost stream. Training will also take place for staff and customers to educate folks on the importance of sustainability and compost.

And as if they could stop there...

Stephanie is already thinking ahead to spring with an ambition to partner with the campus waste hauler, Green For Life, to source from the very compost that they (the Tap House) are contributing to. This will close the loop, bringing the compost back to campus where it will be used in the Biergarten plant plotters.

It is quite astonishing to see what work can be done when a group of individuals cares so much about the impact their business and their personal actions have on the environment. Next time you stop by for a beer or bite of food, hold up your glass and cheers to an innovative campus partner who is dedicated to sustainability and to

something greater than ourselves – the planet.

Cheers to our November Sustainability Hero Spotlight – the Tivoli Brewery team!


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