McMenamins has always had an environmentally conscious climate. Since the company's inception in 1983, recycling had been handled on a pub-by-pub basis. In 1991, a full-time environmental coordinator was hired to oversee reducing, reusing and recycling the company's waste, including materials such as plastics, paper, cork, metals, glass, oil, cardboard and so on.
In addition to the standard pub recycling program, every effort is made to keep the brewing process as earth-friendly and resource-efficient as possible:
- Waste products including the "spent grain," used hop flowers, berries and brewers yeast are given to local farmers for reuse as livestock feed.
- Nylon malt bags are collected for gardening, sand bags and eco-construction.
- Wooden bungs used to seal kegs are chipped into a nutrient-rich garden compost.
- Pallets and slip-boards used to transport kegs are returned from the distributor and reused.
- Five-gallon buckets used to hold everything from cleaning agents to fruit products are reused in the pubs to recycle oil and broken glass.
- Much of the brewing equipment is purchased second-hand and retrofitted to suit McMenamins' needs. In fact, most of the small-brewery fermenters began their service overseas in England.
- Kegs are purchased from other breweries or industrial recycling plants.
While these efforts may not make your actual pint taste better, you may enjoy it more in the knowledge that those who brew it take a personal interest in respecting and honoring the planet we all share.