Deschutes Brewery Sustainability Practices
At Deschutes Brewery, we’ve always thought that lots of Damn Tasty beer can be brewed, packaged and shipped to the outstretched arms of raving fans around the country with much respect for the long-term health of our planet. Every day, we look for ways to lessen our environmental impact by using fewer resources and returning what we can to nature.
One of Oregon’s first breweries, we were early adopters of the craft brew + outdoor lifestyle. Good beer just tastes better when paired with a day in the woods, on the trail, the slopes, the river – anywhere nature calls. It’s a deeply rooted value to preserve those spaces and a lifestyle our industry has become well known for.
Here are a few things Deschutes Brewery co-owners are proud to do every day –
We Conserve Water, Waterways & Energy
- Working with the Deschutes River Conservancy, every year since 2012 we’ve restored one billion gallons of water into the Deschutes River, from which we draw our name and the crazy-pure, volcano filtered water that goes into our beer. This restoration offsets four times the average amount of water we use at the brewery and that our suppliers use in producing what we buy from them. Fish, rafters and kayakers rejoice!
- We support the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council at their annual Deschutes River clean ups, which helps with fish and wildlife habitat restoration. We’ve done similar clean ups at Tinker Creek near our new home in Roanoke, VA, and we regularly support The Freshwater Trust’s efforts throughout the western region.
- We are currently piloting our own on-site wastewater treatment facility at our Bend brewery, which can process more than 150,000 gallons of wastewater a day right here, rather than sending it to the city. When fully up and running, the system can also produce electricity for the brewery by turning broken down sugar and yeast from the brewing process into methane gas that runs a generator. This will reduce our overall power usage by 50 percent. Can you hear the earth breathing a small sigh of relief? (Heck, yeah.)
- We purchase renewable energy through the Blue Sky program annually, and take pride in working to minimize our carbon footprint at all locations.
- We encourage eco-friendly commuting at our Bend facility by offering electric vehicle charging stations and plenty of bike racks and tools for those speedy fixes. Our Portland staff often chooses to commute in by bike or train, because, well, it’s Portland and they’ll get their ass kicked if they drive.
We Recycle Our Waste
- In addition to our wastewater treatment, 100 percent of the spent grain and affluent (beer waste water) that comes out of our brew houses is recycled. While a small amount is used in the fresh-baked bread customers enjoy in our pubs (mmm…) the majority is sent to local farms in Oregon for use as a highly sought-after soil enhancer where the resulting produce is lovingly referred to as “beer vegetables.” Some of these farmers raise cattle, and we complete the cycle by purchasing their locally-grown beef to serve in the pubs.
- We compost food waste in our facilities and have been able to divert much of our waste through this program, while at the same time lowering our overall landfill costs.
We Buy Local
- Whenever possible, we purchase ingredients for our beer from hop and grain farms located around the Pacific Northwest. It lowers the impact of transportation, and besides, when the world’s best ingredients are grown right in your backyard, why go any further?
- Chefs in our Bend and Portland pubs personally select only high-quality, locally-grown produce, meats and dairy products from nearby farmers. Our menu changes seasonally with the latest, most delectable produce in season. You can even find our partnering farms written on a chalkboard at the entrance to our Bend and Portland pubs. How fresh is that?
We Keep Building Smarter
- With an empty parcel of land and a clean slate, we are building our east coast production facility in Roanoke, Virginia, the right way; with primary consideration for the natural state of the land and water around us. A new facility also allows us to get beer in the hands of raving fans out east, while decreasing the fossil fuels spent transporting beer from the west. For more about our Roanoke expansion, click
- When it came time to build a new canning line at our Bend production facility, why expand our physical footprint when our talented engineers could build the entire system on a new mezzanine? The canning line now floats in the air above our bottling line. Commissioned in Feb. 2018, we’re still giddy about this project – really, it’s a thing of beauty.
We Win Major Awards!
- 2016 – The Business Intelligence Group named Deschutes Brewery a global sustainability leader as part of their Sustainability Awards program. The Sustainability Awards honor those people, teams and organizations who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice or overall mission.
- 2015 – Our Portland Pub received an honorable Gold Certification through the City of Portland Sustainability at Work program.
- 2012 – Sustainability Large Business award through the Environmental Center, Bend OR
We Build Healthier Communities
- In addition to responsible and sustainable practices on the job, the good people at Deschutes Brewery devote hundreds of volunteer hours and give over $300,000 a year in cash and in-kind donations to local and national non-profits who are committed to preserving land and water, fighting hunger and investing in youth. You can learn more about our Community Involvement programs here.
We’re proud to say we do a lot, but the truth is, we’re never really satisfied around here, and we always see more to be done. Keep checking back for the latest ways that Deschutes Brewery is helping sustain the health of the planet and its people and generally be a force for good.
Our Community Involvement Committee, a group of employees from throughout the brewery, meets monthly to review all donation requests. Deschutes Brewery looks for non-profit organizations that demonstrate creativity, diversity and an innovative approach to their mission and objectives. This committee also looks for organizations that are directly meaningful or already supported by our employees themselves. To learn more and to fill out a donation request form, please visit our Donations page.