Here at Hop Nation, implementing sustainable practices isn’t just a nice add on or corporate catch phrase, it’s a necessary part of our ongoing business model. It’s no secret that the brewing industry can be incredibly wasteful, so we’re making every effort we can to minimise our environmental impact. Having worked in the wine industry for years before making the leap to brewing, we’ve seen how sustainability in the beverage industry can authentically work.
Reducing our environmental impact is an ongoing journey that continues to evolve, as we do; from the ingredients we use, to the processes we implement and proactive sustainability initiatives, we’re always seeking out new ways to improve our efforts.
It starts at the brewing process for us – we are focusing on highlighting single origin ingredients in our beers. As such, we put careful thought into where these ingredients come from, how they are being farmed and how they get to market. This means sourcing from companies that are transparent about their practices – and in particular those that are doing their best to mitigate pests naturally and manage their irrigation programs in sustainable and innovative ways.
We use solar energy across our Footscray and Mornington production sites, with the aim to one day fuel 90% of our energy requirements through solar power. In 2021, we installed an 82kW Solar PV system made up of 182 solar panels at our Mornington brewery, which is enough to power approximately 60% of our electricity needs at the site. This amounts to 99.9 metric tonnes of CO2-e a year—or the equivalent of planting 1,193 trees—which is probably a lot more efficient than planting saplings ourselves, although we’re doing that too! Looking towards the future, we’re engaging sustainability consultants to develop a battery section in Mornington and to help us reach our sustainability goals.
TREE PLANTING INITIATIVE:
Over the last year, we kick started our Tree Planting initiative to plant native seedlings through organised staff planting days, with the aim to offset some of our C02 use at the brewery. On National Tree Day, we worked with the Sunshine Reserve Committee, based in Mount Martha, to plant native seedlings in our local area. In addition to this, we’re facilitating ongoing fundraisers to donate to the cause, including all proceeds from the launch of our non-alcoholic beer, Mind Your Head, going to Sunshine Reserve Committee and Planet Ark’s Seedling Bank. The fundraiser will see sales from the first 100 cases of beer go to planting native saplings—this equates to just over 1,400 saplings, or about one sapling per can!
Small-batch, commercial brewing itself has come a long way over the years and the facility we have linked with to brew our beers makes use of the latest modern equipment to promote water conservation and recycling during the brewing process.
Heat recovery is used throughout the system to maximise power use and by-products such as grain waste find new homes with local farmers to feed some pretty happy animals.
When it comes to getting the packaged goods to you the consumer, we use recycled kegs and light weight cans. Our labelling and packaging is minimalist for a reason – it simply uses less ink and post-consumer, recycled packaging is used in our few promotional materials or the odd time a printed page is required.
Lastly, we continue to build a symbiotic relationship with our community, even as we’ve expanded over two sites. We support local restaurants and merchants as much as possible – and we have been lucky enough to receive the same support back. We love seeing our product on the shelves and taps of our neighbours – all working to promote a thriving and creative Melbourne culinary scene.