Starting my zero waste champions series has been an absolute pleasure. Through this, I’ve learned from many inspiring individuals and companies. The anti-consumerism movements teach us how businesses are evil corporations out there trying to suck the life out of everyone. The Zero Waste Champion series has shown that there are still ethically conscious people making a difference in the world, and I’m here for it.
Today I bring you another champion. Recently I sat down with Michael Capewell, Founder of Lab Culture.
Tell me about Lab Culture, how was it established? How is it any different from any other craft beer available in stores?
Lab Culture, part of the environmentally conscious Astwood Group, is a Redditch based microbrewery launched in late 2018 that produces American style craft beers using a sustainable food production method.
Our craft beer is different from other beers commonly available on the market due to the simple fact that not only is there a range of delicious flavours, but we also do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment meaning we are 100% eco and vegan-friendly.
How exactly is the beer produced, and how is it more environmentally friendly than traditional production methods?
Our systems are designed to extract maximum value from their wasted resources and minimise the environmental impact of food production.
The brewing process takes advantage of the wasted heat from LED lighting used for the Group’s vertical farm, Vertivore, which produces high-quality, year-round salads, herbs and plants. The vertical farm grows and harvests crops 365 days a year, with the indoor method meaning we don’t need to rely on rain, or sunshine, or moderate temperatures.
The method we use for brewing the beer came about during a brainstorming session on how to fix the issue of waste heat, and we thought there was no solution than brewing beer.
Have you seen a shift in the industry moving towards greener production?
With the expanded growth of imported beverages becoming more and more common in the UK, inevitably, the carbon footprint of beer production has skyrocketed.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry with smaller breweries ‘going green’ and doing everything from fitting solar panels to recycling grain into animal feed. We like to think that Lab Culture is another flag bearer for the green initiative of beer production while still offering a unique twist and refreshing taste.
What would you say has been the most challenging part about running an environmentally conscious business?
In some cases, the switch to using green materials can lead to higher costs in your production process or elsewhere in your facility.
We are fortunate that since our brewing process is loosely tied with Vertivore, we don’t have to worry this as much as other breweries may have to but this doesn’t mean we can afford not to keep a close eye on our finances.
What is your biggest advice to those looking to reduce waste in their lives and live a little greener?
A green lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. It just means making some choices that are eco-friendly and require doing certain things a little differently.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to follow to lead of how we created to Lab Culture and aim to reduce your waste by thinking of innovative ways to reuse and recycle. You may surprise yourself with what you come up with.