Almost everyone has picked up a new hobby during quarantine. Some of us knit, some of us read, and some of us make beer. Enter Karbon Brewing Co.
The Toronto-based brewery is the quarantine passion project the co-founders decided to tackle when they found themselves with a lot of extra time on their hands and a desire to make a change in the world. But Karbon isn’t making beer like everyone else—it’s on a mission to be the first carbon-negative brewery in Canada by 2024.
Brewing beer uses large amounts of water, heat, and energy, meaning it is an industry with a large carbon footprint. Through carbon accounting and mapping emissions, the team at Karbon has been able to get a clear picture of the emissions associated with brewing and has set goals to lower or offset these emissions.
How will they do it? Karbon focusses on sustainable practices, including using spent grain. Spent grain is a by-product breweries are left with after extracting what it needs to make beer. Many breweries will send spent grain to farms to be used as animal feed for cows and chickens. Karbon burns their spent grain, producing their own heat for brewing and lowering their carbon footprint because there is no transportation of grain to farms.
Stephen Tyson, one of the co-founders of Karbon, says he believes “you can’t just care about the planet, you have to care about the people as well.” So, not only does the company have the negative-carbon goal, but it also believes in being advocates for racial equality, supporting the LGBTQ+ community, paying staff a livable wage, and producing ethically made products. Another way Karbon is able to support their local community and achieve their goal of being carbon-negative is by partnering with local NGO’s, local farmers and suppliers, and 1% for the Planet. They are also working on becoming B Corp certified.
And now to the drinkable goods: the initial product launch will feature three beers and one hard seltzer. The first beer Karbon announced is a wheat beer featuring notes of orange peel and spicy coriander, called One World to remind us that, “we only have one home planet.” There is also J.E.D.I., which stands for Justice, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Helios, which shares its name with the Greek God of the sun (the sun is the number one source of natural energy.
There are many breweries across the country working on more sustainable practices, and we’re all for it. After all, there’s nothing better than a cold one we can feel good about.
Want to learn more about beer? Check out our essential cheat sheet.