OktoberForest: River Horse Brewing

The word “hippopotamus” comes from Greek, meaning “river horse.” While there are no hippos living wild in New Jersey, the name River Horse is still apropos for a craft brewery here that is just a couple of turns from the Delaware River. The Nature Conservancy talked with River Horse Brewing, one of our OktoberForest partners, to get a sense of how the clean water protected by forests comes to play in their production process.

nature.org:

How is water used as part of River Horse’s brewing process?

Chris Rakow:

Water is very important--it takes about 3-4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of beer. With water being the majority ingredient in beer, and then considering all of the water used in cleaning, it adds up quickly. We reclaim water whenever possible to assure efficiency.

nature.org:

What’s the chief water source for River Horse’s brews?

Chris Rakow:

We get our water for from Trenton Water Works, which sources primarily from the Delaware River. It goes through a series of filters prior to brewing.

nature.org:

What is River Horse’s ecological footprint like?

Chris Rakow:

We are a registered NJ sustainable business. We have solar cells on our roof. We donate our waste spent grain to local farmers for feed. We use practices in the brewery to limit water, chemicals and energy whenever possible. We recycle our cardboard and glass. We donate our plastic bins to local water collection organizations.

nature.org:

Tell us a little about yourself…

Chris Rakow:

I grew up in NJ and went to Rutgers so I love being a brewer here. In a “previous life” I was an electrical engineer, but I’ve been with River Horse since 2009. Sustainability is important to me, not just at work, but also at home. My wife and I compost, try to reduce plastic waste and strive to grow as much food as possible in our garden. Being outside is also important to me, and I enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, running and snowboarding. New Jersey has some amazing places to get outside.


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