Cambridge Brewing Company team Cambridge Brewing Company staff at the brewery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. © Cambridge Brewing Company

Stories in Massachusetts

Supporting Clean Water and Community

Q&A with Phil Bannatyne, Owner of Cambridge Brewing Company

Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC) opened in 1989 as a brewery and restaurant offering classic and experimental beer with fresh, seasonally driven food. Located in a refurbished mill building in the bustling Kendall Square neighborhood, CBC is committed to buying local ingredients, employing environmentally sensible practices and supporting local philanthropic organizations that seek to improve the community.

The Nature Conservancy and CBC are are partnering to celebrate Oktoberforest. We spoke with Owner Phil Bannatyne to learn more about the brewery’s passion for good beer and clean water.

Cambridge Brewing Company is partnering with TNC in Massachusetts on a 2019 Oktoberforest event to highlight the connections between forests, water and beer.
Cambridge Brewing Company Cambridge Brewing Company is partnering with TNC in Massachusetts on a 2019 Oktoberforest event to highlight the connections between forests, water and beer. © Cambridge Brewing Company

Where does Cambridge Brewing Company get the water you use to make beer? Why is protecting our water resources important to the process?

CBC gets our water from the Cambridge Municipal System—a series of reservoirs in Weston, Lincoln, Lexington and Waltham that is piped to Fresh Pond in Cambridge. Since water is roughly 95% of the make-up of beer, the protection of this resource is a big concern for us. The quality of our water, as well as its mineral content, directly affects the quality of our beers. Conserving water—and thus protecting forests—is also important to us. We have best practices in place to minimize how much we’re using and we reuse the water that is used in the cooling process when brewing.

Do your operations include any sustainable practices?

Yes—I’m excited by the environmentally friendly direction CBC has taken over the years. We strive to be as earth friendly and sustainable as we can. All of our lighting is LED and our cleaning supplies are non-toxic. We aim for zero waste, sending our spent brewery grain and food scraps to a company called Agri Cycle, which turns this compost into electricity, and recycling as much as possible.

Do you source your beer ingredients locally? Where from? Do you draw inspiration from local flavors, seasons or producers you work with?

For our beer ingredients, we source locally whenever possible. Some of our brewing grains come from Valley Malt, a maltster in Hadley, Massachusetts. We also often use local herbs like heather from Sylvan Nurseries in Weston, as well as local honey. Currently on tap is our seasonal Great Pumpkin Ale, which uses Massachusetts-grown sugar pumpkins from Lazy Acres Farm in Hadley. 

Our drive to purchase local plays out on our food menu as well. We get produce from Verrill Farm and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm, as well as Massachusetts-grown grass-fed beef from purveyor Andy Carbone and local seafood from Snappy Lobster in Scituate.

We know you’re very involved in the Cambridge and greater Boston community. What made you decide to participate in TNC’s OktoberForest campaign?

Clean water initiatives benefit all members of our community and TNC has been fighting this fight for decades. The support of businesses like CBC helps the organization continue their valuable work on water and forest protection, as well as their many other initiatives, in this time of immense environmental challenges. We’re excited to be a part of it. 

HEALTHY FORESTS = CLEAN WATER = GREAT BEER From the tree canopy all the way down to root systems, forests play a critical role in cleaning, storing and protecting our water—beer's main ingredient.