Your Green Life: Bent Paddle bending tradition

Sustainability, community, and environment. These are key components that Bent Paddle Brewing Company focuses on while brewing its local craft beer. 

Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, Bent Paddle concentrates on being a strong community supporter. 

Bryon Tonnis, a co-founder of the company and director of brewing operations says, "when looking at building a brewery here, one of the major things we wanted to do is make sure we had a pretty efficient brewing process."

For five years, Bent Paddle has created locally sourced, quality beer,  all while bending the traditions for a more unique and interesting craft beer experience.

"Craft beer with a concentration on our community, our employees, the beer itself, and sustainability in general," says company co-founder, Laura Mullen. 

Practices within the brewery itself include water and gas saving measures with speed demand pumps.  "we save about 500 gallons of water per batch of beer that we brew," says Tonnis. 

Light manufacturing at the brewery creates a fair amount of waste. Managing the amount of waste that comes from production is important to the business. 

Tonnis says, "we have a pretty robust composting program that we use so you know, a decent amount of the waste that is produced on the brewery side goes into composting." 

Every detail of the company keeps sustainability in mind, including the packaging of the product. "We thought it was important to go with aluminum cans because first of all there is a lot less breakage during moving, they’re a lot lighter so they use less fuel to transport. They’re also infinitely recyclable."

The brewery also uses a large amount of plastic wrap in production which they make sure to find ways to recycle. They also give spent grain to local farmers to feed their cows and pigs.

Helping out local businesses is important to the founders. 

"Sourcing things stuff as close to home as we possibly can is good because you get to see that impact locally and how it affects local jobs and the economy here in general," Tonnis says. 

Aside from the brewing process itself, the companies brand new taproom next door to their brewing plant, also demonstrates sustainable practices. "Even in this [the taproom] project, we tried to use as many reclaim products, as many local products as possible," says Mullen. 

The new taproom opened in April, sporting decor from local artists and businesses. 

Mullen says, "our tap handles as well as our chairs for our patios […] everything is made right here in Duluth and we were actually one of the first, I think we might be the only one with 100% Minnesota made tap handles."

Within their facilities, you’ll find near 100% LED lighting and water and energy efficient toilets and sinks. 

Throughout the taproom you’ll also find compost, recycle, and trash bins to separate your items. 

Sustainability and environment are a core value to the founders and staff. Mullen says, "I don’t think we would be here with Bent Paddle if we didn’t have that as a piece of what we do because we would be, I think too depressed about all of the waste that’s generated."

And of course, they always keep their passion for brewing and the company in mind.  

"It’s not the easiest route always, but there is usually an answer that is a more sustainable answer, and it’s usually better for the company," says Mullen. 

The company partners with many organizations and businesses to host several community fundraisers and initiatives including keeping local neighborhoods clean. 

For more information on Bent Paddle and their mission click here
 

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