PR / Boston (October, 2022) — The University of Massachusetts at Boston and its Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) received a two-year, $350,000 Pollution Prevention Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help craft breweries in Massachusetts implement environmentally conscious business practices.
Led by UMass Boston professor and SERC Director Vesela Veleva, the project will provide free pollution prevention consulting to breweries and other craft beverage producers while documenting best practices, creating case studies, and providing other technical assistance. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, a portfolio of resources will be created and shared so that effective strategies and models can be replicated and adopted across the industry to help brewers reduce costs and improve brand recognition.
Chosen for its cooperative nature and community focussed culture, the craft beverage sector demonstrates a willingness to embrace sustainability measures. To encourage this trend, the SERC project will assess brewery operations and processes to help participating businesses qualify for the grant’s “green brewery recognition program.” The assessment will be accompanied by recommendations on energy use, water use, toxic chemical use, and solid waste generation to help them reach established industry efficiency benchmarks.
By becoming more efficient, companies also reduce “downstream” costs associated with waste management, treatment, and disposal. The goal is to prevent pollution from happening in the first place so that air emissions, wastewater discharges, landfills, waste incineration, and even recycling are less necessary.
To help coordinate that effort, UMass Boston has hired project field manager Rob Vandenabeele, an industry expert and environmental advocate who co-founded the Mass. Brew Bros. and later launched EcoFriendyBeer.com, two prominent online resources for breweries and eco-conscious beer enthusiasts.
Additional partnerships include the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) and others who will help conduct site visits and provide recommendations.
UMass Boston will also leverage graduate and undergraduate business and environmental science students to provide research for projects focussed on sustainability and on how to use the Brewers Association (BA) benchmarking tools. They will also be involved in a variety of other support roles as part of their experience and preparation for becoming future leaders.
The grant program, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and its historic $100 million EPA appropriation, is part of a regional collaboration to recognize New England’s environmentally conscious breweries in a variety of ways including a “green beverage producer” map.
Craft beverage producers interested in getting free technical assistance by participating in the program should fill out this survey or contact project field manager Rob Vandenabeele via email at EcoFriendlyBeerDrinker@gmail.com.