OktoberForest: Throwback Brewery

Fall is when New Hampshire really shines: colorful leaves, brisk, sunny days, trees dripping with ripe apples, and festive gatherings galore. This season, The Nature Conservancy is joining the fun with OktoberForest, a collaboration with local breweries to raise awareness about the important role that forests play in our water supply. We asked Nicole Carrier, co-founder and president of Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, New Hampshire, and current president of the New Hampshire Brewers Association, to share her story.

nature.org:

Hi Nicole. Why do brewers like you care about New Hampshire’s forests?

Nicole Carrier:

We have a saying here at Throwback Brewery – ‘No Farms, No Beer’ – reminding everyone that beer is an agricultural product. We could just as easily replace the word Farms with Forests, to raise awareness that without forests, there would be no beer! Beer, after all is about 90-95% water. And healthy forests are essential for filtering and protecting streams that end up being an important source of high quality water.

nature.org:

Where does Throwback Brewery get the water it uses to make its beer? What does the water footprint of your production look like?

Nicole Carrier:

We get our water from the Aquarion Water Company.

Brewing is a very water-intensive process. We need water to not only make the beer, but to also cool it down, and then to clean the tanks out once we are done. On average, for every 1 barrel of beer we craft, we produce almost 4 barrels of wastewater, and this is with us saving the water used to cool down the wort. More specifically, for every batch of beer we make, we save about 20 barrels of water, which is then used in the next batch. This come out to about 65,000 gallons of water saved a year!

nature.org:

How are you caring for New Hampshire’s forests?

Nicole Carrier:

Since starting Throwback Brewery, we have focused on developing and implementing sustainable practices that help protect the environment, and, thus, New Hampshire’s forests. Here are just a few of the ways we lessen our impact on the local and global environment:
- Solar Power. In May of 2016, we installed a 48kw solar array, making us the largest solar-powered brewery in NH. This array enables us to offset burning 4,692 gallons of gas per year. And, since we installed the system, we have saved 143,780 lbs of C02 emission which, to use more forest-y terminology, is the equivalent to us planting 3,622 trees!
- Sourcing Local. By growing our own crops here at the farm and striving to use ingredients within a 200-mile radius in all our beer, we are dramatically reducing our carbon footprint by cutting down on transportation emissions and use of fossil fuels.
- Recycling. We take recycling very seriously in our brewery and restaurant - seeking products made from recycled materials and even upcycling many elements of our original 1860s barn to create the gastropub and brew house you see here today. We compost as well as feed kitchen prep scraps and spent-grain from the brewing process to the pigs, goats, and chickens here on our farm. In addition, we prevent a lot of glass waste with the help of our wonderful customers who frequently reuse their refillable glass growlers to bring beer home.

For more information, please see our website

nature.org:

This sounds like more than just business to you…

Nicole Carrier:

Yes! We founded Throwback Brewery with the mission of trying to source everything from within 200 miles of here. Something that might sound easy and common practice – but we are the only brewery in NH who’s mission is to make farm-fresh beer from local ingredients. Today, the ingredients for our beer are sourced 65-99% within that radius (depending on the beer).

nature.org:

In addition to clean water, do forests provide other benefits?

Nicole Carrier:

Forest provide so many other benefits besides clean water. I needed a break from work the other day, so I took my dog Barry White with me to do a quick hike up Mt. Major. Being outside in the woods provides the ultimate form of relaxation and escape for me. I really don’t think there is a better way to recharge then to get some fresh air and a bit of exercise while enjoying the beautiful landscape of New Hampshire.


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