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Drop Bear Beer Co to build world’s first carbon neutral alcohol-free brewery

Carbon Neutral Drop Bear

Pioneering craft brewer Drop Bear Beer Co is to build the world’s first carbon neutral alcohol-free brewery and offset all its carbon emissions since day one of business operations.

When Drop Bear’s brewery opens in South Wales later this year, it will be a sector-leading development. Also, by then, the business will have successfully backdated 100% of its carbon emissions dating back to its formation in 2019.

Created by Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, Swansea-based Drop Bear has won major national and international awards for its range of alcohol-free craft beers.

And the pair have ensured that environmental, ethical, and social responsibility is central to the company’s ethos.

Drop Bear Beer Co. founders Sarah McNena (left) and Joelle Drummond.

Joelle Drummond said, “As Drop Bear continues to grow, we are determined the company does so responsibly and ethically. Building our carbon neutral brewery involves an unprecedented level of innovation in our industry. Rather than relying on offsetting for future footprint, we want to reduce emissions from the brewery from day one.”

Its values are also reflected in its customer base, which includes many like-minded companies such as Ocado and Co-op, and at the start of 2022, Drop Bear launched in over 200 Co-op stores in Central England.

To realise its brewery building goals, Drop Bear is collaborating with specialist organisations that bring a raft of expertise in areas such as carbon emissions reduction, renewable energy, and environmental impact analysis.

The company’s plan to create a ‘green brewery’ is being supported by a £92,000 grant from the Welsh Government’s Decarbonisation and Covid Challenge Fund.

When completed, it will be the UK’s largest alcohol-free brewery and include measures to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and further improve quality assurance processes thanks to real time analysis. These actions will benefit the company and its contract production and packaging customers and hopefully encourage more urgency around climate action in the brewing industry.

Plans for the brewery include employing heat exchange and steam recapture technology to reduce energy consumption, and transforming waste via anaerobic digestion into renewable energy for the brewery and community.

Sarah McNena said, “We aim to create pioneering solutions that not only benefit our company, but the wider industry, global community, and other scaling drinks businesses.”

Not content with their carbon offsetting achievements to date, Sarah and Joelle are determined to back-date their contribution by taking steps to mitigate carbon emissions from the company’s inception in 2019.

Sarah said, “Working with Climate Partner we are calculating our carbon emissions going back to the very start of Drop Bear. We’ll then choose gold standard offsetting projects to support and our customers will be able to learn about them on our website or via QR codes printed on our packaging. This will also allow us to offer customers an unprecedented level of transparency so that they are empowered to shop more sustainably.”

Last December, Drop Bear became Wales’ first B Corporationâ brewery.

This highly selective and prestigious designation puts Drop Bear among an elite group of environmentally, ethically, and socially-focused UK food and drink businesses.

A Living Wage employer, Drop Bear achieved B Corp™️ status by implementing and pursuing various environmentally-friendly, ethical and community focused corporate policies and activities.

These include signing up to the Welsh Government’s Equality and Green Growth pledges and switching from bottles to 330ml cans. While an ongoing carbon offset programme has resulted in the planting of 1,854 trees.

Indeed, the company’s offsetting activities as a whole have accounted for 70 tonnes of greenhouse gasses (CO2e). It is a figure comparable to travelling 172,380 miles by car or making 53 trips from London to San Francisco, and has saved 208m2 of sea ice.

Joelle said, “Achieving B Corp status is proof of our commitment to helping safeguard the planet. Now, with the help of the Decarbonisation and Covid Challenge Fund grant to build our carbon neutral brewery, we believe we will not only be able to increase Drop Bear’s commitment to the environment but create a sustainability blueprint for others in the brewing industry.

“We are on the precipice of an era of sustainability for industry as a whole, and now is the time to take action. We are proud and excited to be at the forefront of this transformation in the alcohol-free space and hope our actions will inspire others.”