In order to bring Africa’s first line of carbon-neutral beers, Darling Brew has calculated their carbon footprint by means of a greenhouse gas audit. This carbon footprint is then offset through impactChoice, a provider of end-to-end environmental sustainability solutions, who also ensures the emissions are offset via responsible carbon capturing and reduction projects.
The microbrewery, established in 2010 in the quaint town of Darling, was one of South Africa's first well-established craft beer brands. In 2016, the brewery released the continent's first carbon neutral beer, Blood Serpent, with the intention of later extending it across the range.
Blood Serpent was seen as a catalyst for sustainable momentum within the African beer industry, especially towards decarbonisation and company buy-in for carbon neutrality. The beer was celebrated by fans and media alike for being an innovation, not only within the craft beer industry, but sustainability in Africa.
Darling Brew has been on their sustainability journey since opening in 2010, when they created their line of craft beers around driving awareness on animal conservation in Africa. “It’s not about doing what we like with our operations and just offsetting our impact,” says Kevin Wood, owner and founder of Darling Brew, “It’s about our commitment to continuously reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible whilst using the offsetting process as a way of further redressing our impact.”
In order to ensure that the brewery is reducing its impact, Darling Brew has teamed up with sustainability consultants Ecolution Consulting who, in addition to guiding the brewery through the carbon offsetting process, are working with Darling Brew to reduce the water and energy consumption, as well as the brewery’s waste to landfill percentage.
“We are identifying short and long-term strategies to ensure that Darling Brew continues to travel further along their sustainability journey,” says André Harms, sustainability engineer and founder of Ecolution Consulting. “This started with the procedure of tracking and recording consumption and waste data to ensure that real progress is being made.”
The brewery has recently taken to displaying their sustainability journey prominently in the brewery’s restaurant and tasting area. Statistics concerning water, waste, energy and carbon are being transparently displayed from month to month in the hopes to include Darling Brew’s patrons on the journey and spread awareness.
In addition the carbon offsetting and consumption tracking, Darling Brew has implemented a series of sustainability initiatives in their brewery. This includes water efficient fittings, waterless urinals, ongoing recycling and food waste management and the use of upcycled furniture and recycled wood in the brewery and tasteroom area. “We are excited to progress on this journey,” says Wood. “Going carbon neutral is a massive step for us, but certainly not the last.”