Mashing in the special green hop beer. Left to right are: Mike Goff, of the Port William Hotel; Rob Orton, St Austell brewing team leader; Alison Williams, Port William Hotel; and Rob Freight, St Austell compliance officer
St Austell Brewery is celebrating the work of its environmental evangelists with a special green brew for this year’s Celtic Beer Festival, crafted by Alison Williams and Mike Goff from the Port William Hotel, at Trebarwith.
Green Hopped Pilsener was made using First Gold hops freshly picked and still green from Stocks Farm, Worcestershire. Alison and Mike won the chance to create the special brew after picking up first prize in a brewery-sponsored Green Champions competition.
Run across the summer, the contest involved all the company’s managed pubs and hotels recording their environmental activities on social media. Alison was nominated by Mike, her manager at the Port William, after dramatically reducing the amount of food waste sent to landfill from the pub by as much as 1,200kg in the busy tourist month of August.
Thanks to her amazing efforts, Alison and Mike joined St Austell brewing team leader Rob Orton in the Small Batch Brewery for a day to remember at the mash tun, and the result of their efforts — the flavoursome Green Champion Pilsener lager — will make its debut at this year’s Celtic Beer Festival on Saturday, November 25.
Delighted with their day’s work, Mike said: “It’s been brilliant to be involved with the brew from the ground up. Selling great beer to customers in the pub is one thing, but to know that you had a hand in making the beer they are drinking is just great. We’re really looking forward to trying it out at the beer festival.”
Sustainability has long been at the heart of St Austell Brewery’s South West operations, with solar panels producing energy at the company’s headquarters and the St Columb CDC distribution centre from as far back as 2012.
In 2016, those panels enabled the brewery’s main distribution hub to go completely grid-free for over half a year, as well as give back enough energy to power 1,000 family homes.
Through investment and innovation in the brewhouse, the company has drastically reduced the amount of resources required to make a pint its beers. In 2011, it took 17Kwh to produce a barrel of beer, whereas it now takes just 3.6Kwh.
The brewery is involved in the latest initiatives to source locally and sustainably, like being part of Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Cornwall Good Seafood Guide, while 2016 also saw the signing of a new deal to outsource the company’s waste management to three family-run operations across the South West, all working to a 0% to landfill policy.
None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the dedication of the brewery’s Green Champions — staff from across the company’s operations who look out for any opportunity to save energy, such as through the replacement of high-wattage bulbs for LED, overseeing beach cleans and other environmental initiatives in their neighbourhoods.
Under the guidance of brewery compliance officer, Rob Freight, these environmental evangelists do their best to ensure the continued drive for sustainable operations work at ground level and that the brewery’s partnerships with organisations such as the Clean Cornwall campaign have real bite locally.
Rob Orton said: “Our Green Champions really are at the heart of everything we do to be more sustainable in our operations and form a fundamental part of our corporate social responsibility to look after our countryside and our local environment.
“As the Celtic Beer Festival is another way for us to give back to the community through charity, it was the
perfect place for our green brew to get its first outing.”
This year sees the brewery’s annual beer bash coming back for its 19th year, having raised nearly £200,000 for charity across the years. Following the same format as previous years, the event runs from 11am until 11pm on Saturday, November 25, with tickets available on the door at £10 in return for a souvenir beer glass, festival programme and two beer tokens.
More tokens are available to purchase within the event, which features live music across the day and a staggering line up of more than 180 beers to sample, from across the UK and beyond.