OktoberForest: Genesee Brewing Company

Founded in 1878, The Genesee Brewing Company, based in Rochester, New York, is one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in the United States. Part of North American Breweries, Genesee has used pristine water from Hemlock Lake to brew its beer for generations.

In 2010, the State of New York, City of Rochester and The Nature Conservancy teamed up to ensure the permanent protection of Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lakes and the forests that surround them. Today, Hemlock and Canadice Lakes—the last undeveloped Finger Lakes—provide 37 million gallons a day of drinking water for the City of Rochester.

In 2016, a team of volunteers—including 95 employees from The Genesee Brewing Company who dedicated more than 600 hours of time—helped construct a trail linking these lakes.

We asked Mary Beth Popp, Director of Corporate Relations at North American Breweries, Inc., to tell us more about nature’s role in their business’s success.

Visit Rob’s Trail in Central and Western New York to experience the healthy and beautiful forests surrounding Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, and learn more about how good water and good beer depend on healthy forests.



What is the source of water for your beer?

Mary Beth:

We use pristine Hemlock Lake water to brew our beer.


Do you see benefits to protecting and restoring forests on lands which surround the source waters for your beer?

Mary Beth:

Water is the primary ingredient in beer. It’s essential to our business that we care for our water source and takes steps to protect, restore and sustain it.


How is Genesee working to be sustainable or environmentally friendly?

Mary Beth:

We use a three-step process of measuring, reducing and compensating for our environmental footprints. In the last three years, we have: Reduced water usage by 136 million gallons, the equivalent of 207 Olympic-sized swimming pools; reduced CO2 emissions by 6700 tons, the equivalent of what 227,000 mature trees would absorb in a year; and diverted 488 tons of garbage from landfills, the equivalent of what 600 people would throw out in a year.


How does nature inspire your brewery?

Mary Beth:

Recreational access to trails, rivers, lakes and ponds is essential for a healthy lifestyle. We’re inspired to help sustain nature for our employees, partners and many customers.


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