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Avon event showcases adult beverages with green stories

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
VAIL CO, Colorado
HL Beer Donations DT 10-24-11
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Toilets, cows and processed water.

That’s the short version of what the men over at Bonfire Brewing in Eagle are doing in the name of sustainability.

“We have dual flush toilets at the brewery and over time, it adds up to 7,000 gallons of water saved per year,” said Andy Jessen, co-founder and brewery manager.



While sipping on Bonfire’s Vanilla Porter, Rye Pale Ale or Raspberry IPA, attendees at Thursday’s Sustainable Sippers event in Avon will learn about how the brewery’s used grain is mixed in with cattle feed for some lucky cows in Bond. And the brewery is saving lots of water each year by reusing the processed water leftover from the brewing process to clean kegs, tanks and more.

“That water, in a lot of places, goes down the drain,” Jessen said. “We’re able to save about 50 percent of it and put it to beneficial use.”

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Bonfire Brewing is one of four breweries taking part in Sustainable Sippers at Vin48, an event hosted by Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability. Representatives from nine wine vendors and five spirit companies will also be on hand to pour and answer questions, offering a special insider’s look into the greener world of adult beverages. Vin48’s Executive Chef-owner Charles Hays will prepare tasty small plates using locally grown ingredients, and he’ll share some of the local restaurant’s own sustainable practices. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

“We’re really excited about the event,” said Debbie Hawk of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability. “It’s a good opportunity for people to not just talk about organic wines, beers and spirits, but taste them, talk to sales reps and see where they can buy them in our area, and really learn about the different products and what biodynamic means.”

Hawk said she learned plenty just from coordinating the event.



“A lot of the companies are cutting down the size of their bottles, which reduces the amount of waste, as well as the energy that goes into it,” Hawk said. “At Jack Rabbit Hill, all the wine is available in kegs, which eliminates the waste train for the restaurants. They can just resell the kegs, like beer companies do.”

At Casa Lapostolle, one of the wineries that will be represented, the bottles are 14 percent lighter and made from 30 to 60 percent recycled glass, which means 320 tons of glass per year is saved.

Crazy Mountain Brewery, in Edwards, will also be at the event serving up its Amber Ale, as well as another yet-to-be-determined beer. According to Holly Velvis, the tasting room manager, the brewery strives to do its part to be sustainable. The brewery used pine beetle kill wood to make the tap handles, the bar and most of the furniture in the tasting room. Like Bonfire Brewing, the spent grain is donated to a local farmer in the Eagle area who feeds it to his cows.

In addition, each beer the brewery releases is paired with a local nonprofit. One percent of the proceeds from that beer then goes to the nonprofit. When people buy flights of beer in the tasting room, Velvis hands a $1 back to the person and they can pick which nonprofit they’d like the dollar to benefit, she said.

The event will also include a raffle. Many vendors are donating bottles of their products, and there are lots of restaurant gift certificates and more, Hawk said. Raffle tickets will be sold for one for $5 or three for $10.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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