Sustainability at Drake’s: Results & Practical Guide

Breweries use a lot of natural resources, from raw ingredients to packaging materials. They also produce a lot of waste. Spent grain, hops, and cardboard are just a few examples. While Drake’s Brewing has been mindful of our environmental impact, tackling sustainability has become a bigger priority. 

Our first step was finding someone to develop and implement sustainable brewing practices. A year ago, Drake’s Cellar Manager and long-term employee, Hal McConnellogue, became our first Sustainability Manager. He’s been taking a hard look at all of our operations, from the brewery to our tap room and restaurants

Hal McConnellogue posing next to a bale of cardboard on the Drake's Brewing loading dock.
Hal McConnellogue, Drake’s Sustainability Manager

Thanks to his efforts, and the support of Drake’s employees, we’ve been taking decisive steps in the right direction. Here’s a few highlights:

  • 16,000 lbs of pallet wood was conserved during 2019-2020 by using plastic pallets for onsite transportation that remain in use today.
  • 290,000 sq. feet of disposable plastic wrap was replaced in 2019-2020 with reusable rubber bands for securing empty kegs on pallets. Any plastic wrap that’s received in our warehouse is baled and recycled.
  • 15,000 gallons of solid brewing waste (yeast & hops) per month is now diverted to our farm partner instead of entering the municipal waste stream. It represents 4.7% of our annual process waste effluent that’s diverted. 
  • Increased conservation efforts and efficiency upgrades have helped us reduce our carbon dioxide consumption by 29% over the past 1.5 years.

These changes and other efforts are outlined below in Practical Sustainability for the Modern Craft Brewery, created by Hal McConnellogue for members of the Master Brewers Association. It offers further insights and helpful tips for brewers. If you really want to nerd out and get technical, we highly recommend listening to Hal’s interview on the Master Brewers Podcast.


More hard work needs to be done. We’re currently aiming to reduce water consumption by 12%, which would save almost 600,000 gallons of water in 2022. Reducing our footprint on the planet is critical. The effort has become an important part of our company Mission, Vision, and Values: 

“Sustainability at Drake’s is oriented towards long-term success and our future. This means active responsibility and acting responsibly. We are mindful of our resources, from natural resources to financial resources. We take an active responsibility in creating an environment which emphasizes employee growth, equity, and a shared social responsibility to our local communities.”