1. Environmental Sustainability
Environmentally responsible business practices have been one of our core values since before we even opened for business – inspiring us to employ reclaimed building materials, second-hand furnishings and a low-impact build-out that enhanced the historic features of our 1876 storefront. In 1997 we became a charter member of the Washtenaw County Waste Knot program. In 2000 we received the county’s Environmental Excellence Award and in 2013 we were named Green Business of the Year by both Clean Water Action and the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors.
Waste Reduction and Recycling
Reducing our waste stream is a company-wide effort that involves everyone from the kitchen, brewery, office, and wait-staff. Some of our strategies include:
- working with vendors to eliminate or reduce unnecessary packaging
- reducing the amount of waste we generate by doing simple things like communicating electronically, providing drinking straws only upon request, etc
- diverting as much waste as possible from the landfill through secondary use, recycling and composting
Buy and Sell Local
Local sourcing is part of every purchasing decision we make. Buying local reduces the fuel miles it takes to get food to the table and often reduces the energy waste associated with warehousing and refrigerated transport.
We also only distribute our beer in Michigan to reduce the impact we have on the environment getting our own product to market.
In 2010 we participated in an energy audit program that resulted in a wide range of energy-saving recommendations including switching to cold cathode lighting, installing motion sensors, programmable thermostats, faucet aerators, flushless urinals, and new gaskets.
In addition to these energy efficiency improvements, we also became Michigan’s first solar brewery when our original location came online with a solar-thermal and photovoltaic system. ABC’s sustainable energy system uses the sun’s energy to generate electricity as well as the majority of the hot water needed for brewery and restaurant operations.
The system includes a 2.4 kW solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high-efficiency tankless water heater system to supplement the heat from the collector tubes when necessary. When combined with the other energy efficiency improvements the system is offsets gas usage by up to 40% and electricity usage by up to 10%.
At our Ypsilanti location, we also completed a $250,000 “Green Brewery Project” as part of a $1 million dollar expansion and renovation. Corner Brewery’s green renovations include solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements like new windows, solar awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment. With a total system rating of 18 kW electric, and 64.8 kW thermal, it is believed to be the largest-capacity solar installation of any craft brewery East of Colorado.
Watch Matt talk about the importance of clean water to the ABC brand below!
2. Community Building
Building and supporting community are an integral part of the ABC core business vision. Some of our key initiatives include
- Supporting Local Non-Profits – Each year we provide cash and in-kind contributions, volunteers, and assistance planning and hosting fundraisers to hundreds of local non-profits.
- Buying Local – We are committed to buying goods and services from local, sustainably run, independently owned and operated businesses whenever possible. By buying local, we keep money flowing through our own community and help other local business thrive and provide employment. We also reduce the fuel miles that go into the beer and food we serve. And by purchasing from local farms, we are helping to strengthen local food systems while offering foods that we know are fresh, natural, and humanely and sustainably produced.
- Serving on local civic and non-profit boards including the Ann Arbor DDA, Main Street Area Association, Ypsilanti Planning and Brownfield Commission, Ypsilanti DDA, Think Local First, Performance Network, Ozone House, Washtenaw Community College Foundation, Michigan Brewers Guild, and Hope Café.