Charlotteville Brewing Company
We Had This Idea...
A Reflection of Us
Being nestled in the Carolinian forest, we are surrounded by a lush, ecological habitat that is home to unique flora and fauna such as: the tulip tree, pawpaw, and the rare southern flying squirrel. This makes the local area very special and one that we feel needs to be respected, protected, and celebrated.
Our modus operandi is to tread as lightly on the Earth as we can. If possible, we’d actually like to leave it in better shape than we found it. Needless to say, the business approach we’ve taken is a little different. To create an environmental, social, and economic impact in the community that supports us, we’ve placed the following values at the core of our business model:
Our Core Values
- Utilize as much repurposed material as possible
- Grow raw ingredients organically and/or purchase organic
- Pay personnel a living wage so they can prosper
- Strive to be as close to zero waste as possible
- Serve artisanal beer and food that is as sustainable as it is delicious
Why An Organic Farm?
The rational for our organic farm is deeply imbedded in something called agroecology. Although the term might sound familiar (agro – agriculture and ecology – ecological/environmental), many still find it difficult to wrap his/her head around the concept. Agroecology can best be summarized as an approach where nutrients and energy are recycled on the farm in closed loops, rather than relying on external inputs.
It can also be approached as a way of understanding how ecological, social, and economic factors (in that order) all interact with one another. When applied correctly, it is a system that is less resource oriented, more socially inviting, and environmentally focused. Agroecology seeks to create a farming system that is diverse, productive, resilient, and efficient.
Applying an agroecological approach to our farm has allowed us to explore more effective ways of applying traditional knowledge and techniques to our crops and land (i.e. soil). Through this environmental stewardship we believe we’re creating a rich habitat and dynamic ecosystem that from the soil, to the seed, to the plate, is enabling us to move towards a better, more responsible, agricultural model.
Sustainable Tourism Pledge
We, Charlotteville Brewing Company, have signed the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge, to further demonstrate our commitment to improving the sustainability performance of our business between now and 2030.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” To read more about the UN’s sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices, click “Sustainable Development”.
We’ve created an action plan for our farm where each year, we commit to measuring and improving our sustainability performance.
Some of those actionable items include:
- Improving our sustainable purchasing policy
- Measuring our carbon footprint and finding opportunities to reduce our emissions year over year
- Providing a meaningful experience for guests, while raising their awareness of sustainability issues and better practices
Are you’re interested in learning more about this environmental initiative? Then head over to Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge on GreenStep Solutions webpage.
Highlights of Our
What Sustainability Looks Like To Us
When most people hear the word “sustainability,” they think “green” or “environmentally-friendly.” Though these associations can be helpful to consumers, they don’t always tell the whole story. This is largely because we live in a world where the ‘green washing’ of environmental claims runs rampant, making it hard to tell fact from fiction sometimes. In an attempt to be transparent, we want to share with you our views of sustainability and what we’re doing everyday to ensure our business practices environmental stewardship and social integrity.
Sustainability for us is an awareness of how we, as both individuals and a small business, impact our surroundings over the long-term. It is the idea that if we are aware of how we impact our surroundings, we can act in ways that provide for environmental, social, and economic benefits for future generations.
Here’s How We Advocate for the Environment
- A local farmer picks up spent grain and uses it to feed his cattle
- Bicycle racks support employee and visitor commuting
- A discount is given to cyclists. We encourage people to ride their bicycles to the brewery; those that do receive a ‘green discount’ for doing so
- An outdoor Fix-It Station (sponsored by North Shore Cycle) equipped with bike repair tools will be available in the spring of 2023
- Toilet tissue, paper towel, and tissues are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper
- Biodegradable, natural cleaners and detergents, no phosphates, harsh chemicals, or artificial colours
- Felled trees from the forests on our property are cut, dried, and stored for future use in our pizza oven
- A heat exchanger not only cools wort so yeast can thrive to ferment healthy beer, it also pre-heats water that goes into subsequent batches of beer
- Energy efficient LED lighting illuminates all interior and exterior areas of the property
- Water-efficient toilets and faucets throughout the brewery
- Energy efficient hand-driers in our restrooms
- An Energy Star certified Navien Combi-Boiler with an annual fuel utilization efficiency of 95% supplies both heat (in-floor) and hot water for the brewery and kitchen
- A 700 hp steam boiler with 85-percent overall efficiency conserves and recycles energy for steam production used in all processes from heating, mashing, boiling, and general tank cleaning
- 80% of appliances are Energy-Star rated and/or managed properly for peak efficiency and low energy consumption
- All cardboard, paper, aluminium, and glass from the production process of brewing and cooking are recycled
- Foil bags used for hop pellets are saved after being emptied and dropped off a local depot for recycling
- Re-use program in place for our brewery, bar and kitchen towels
- No-go plastic bottle zone for staff and guests
- Food scraps from the kitchen, tap house, and brewery are composted on a daily basis. Once broken down, the compost is applied to our flower beds and perennial gardens
- A C.I.P. (Clean-in-Place) system has reduced the amount of water to clean tanks by about 65%
- Our water is sourced from an on-site well
- Garden hoses are equipped with flow meters
- Brewery kitchen garden uses organic fertilizers and/or the art of companion planting, which act as natural insect repellents
- In 2019, we started working with a conservation group called ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services), which helped us turn a portion of our farmland into a pollinator row – consisting of natives species, prairie grass, and wildflowers
- Each year we plant a rare or endangered Carolinian plant, shrub, or tree species. Thus far we’ve successfully established: pawpaw, hop, mulberry, quince, dogwood and cucumber-magnolia to name a few
- We’ve established hives on the property to help with the pollination of the fruits, vegetables, and flowers on the farm
- We connected with St. William’s Nursery in 2020 to purchase some of their “pollinator habitat” boxes – filled with 18 different native perennial plant species known to flourish in our Carolinian zone
- In 2022, we started working with Carolinian Canada and the Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance on a new pilot recovery project for the Cucumber Magnolia tree, which has been identified as a Species at Risk
- In 2023, we’ll be working with Birds Canada to monitor forest birds on the farm to identify species at risk
It's not who you know, but how you grow
We're one of Norfolk County's
The concept of naming Amazing Places within a UNESCO biosphere reserve began in Fundy Biosphere Reserve, with the intent of identifying and promoting significant natural sites for residents and visitors to access, in order to encourage better knowledge of ecological features and inspire a conservation ethic in people.
Amazing Places, in Norfolk County, is a sustainable tourism initiative that identifies and promotes significant sites in the region for residents and visitors alike to explore and gain knowledge about the uniqueness of the Long Point Biosphere region. In addition to the sites that have natural and/or biological significance, an Amazing Place should also have features that provide visitors with a memorable experience, be publicly accessible, and hold some cultural and/or historical significance.
The focus of the Amazing Places program is to direct residents and travelers to the gems throughout the region for the purposes of discovering and connecting with nature, and outdoor education. Following the “do no harm” model, contemporary Amazing Places are/or have been chosen in locations that can handle increased visitation without compromising what makes the destination Amazing.
Commitment to Sustainability
Sustainability has been a part of our moral and social construct since we were children. As we witnessed the Earth take a much needed breath during the global lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It quickly became clear to us that we needed to further develop the sustainability program at our brewery.
In 2022, we undertook an environmental stewardship assessment through Green Economy Norfolk. This helped us determine our sustainability performance and identify some initiatives we could implement to improve ourselves – from infrastructure developments and/or enhancements in the brewery, all the way to how we manage our taproom on a daily basis.
This year, we joined forces with GreenStep Solutions and have undergone a comprehensive assessment to achieve Sustainable Tourism Silver Certified. The process includes a one-on-one review of our business practices with a GreenStep Assessor to see how we’re doing against their Global Sustainable Tourism Council recognized criteria.
Following the assessment, we received a report that recognizes where we are doing well, and also highlights areas where we have opportunities for improvement, helping us to form an action plan for continued success on our sustainability journey. We will be reassessed every two years to maintain our certification and our momentum.
- Aroma Hops
- Bittering Hops
- Dual Purpose Hops
As well as being craft beer lovers, we’re also certified organic hop farmers.
The Carolinian Hop Yard is our sister business where we currently grow 4-acres of award winning hops. We have 7 different types which include:
DUAL PURPOSE HOPS
We will be adding more aroma varietals in 2023 to our overall crop production.
A Certified Organic Crop
On November 1st, 2019 ECOCERT Canada issued an organic product certificate to the Carolinian Hop Yard. Basically stating the production, preparation, and marketing of our hops is compliant with Canada’s organic standards. For the nine years prior to our certification, we didn’t spread, spray, or seed anything on our property that would not exist in our environment naturally. The benefits of this choice have come back to us ten fold, as we’ve watched our hops flourish from year-to-year. In addition to this, we are continuously amazed at the diversity of the natural world that thrives in and around the hop yard. Fawns, bats, wild turkeys, salamanders, snapping turtles, and a wide variety of birds, insects, and mushrooms have successfully made Carolinian Hop Yard and/or Charlotteville Brewing Company their home. Watching this diversity grow and prosper tells us that we’re making the right decisions in our agricultural approach to hop yard and on the farm itself.
Check This Out!
In The News
Tim Bollan and his crew from Morning Live on CHCH TV came to visit us on August 25, 2020 for the first day of hop harvest.
Take a look the four vignettes by clicking the image below.