Green Key Success - first in the world!!

We have some very exciting news!!

We have become the first Brewery visitor centre in THE WORLD to be awarded Green Key Status. Not Pembrokeshire, not Wales, not the UK …. THE WORLD!!

Green Key is the largest global eco-label awarded to more than 2,900 tourism providers in 57 countries worldwide. The award offers an environmentally sustainable choice when planning holidays, excursions or business trips. Green Key Wales launched in April 2015 and offers a growing collection of the country’s most environmentally sustainable destinations, ensuring that wherever you are in Wales, you can make the best choice for the environment, as well as discovering some of the finest hospitality providers in the country.

We have now been recognised as one of the most environmentally sustainable destinations and we couldn’t be happier. Being green has always been a huge part of Bluestone Brewing Company, so the Green Key accreditation seemed like the perfect thing for us to apply for. To be recognised as the first Brewery Visitor Centre in the world to achieve the Green Key status is just amazing. Hopefully, people will see what we are doing and be inspired to try to improve their own businesses to become as green as possible. Going through the Green Key process has helped to highlight areas where we could improve, but it has also made us feel very proud of what we have already achieved to date. The award is a fantastic achievement and something that will hopefully inspire other Pembrokeshire businesses.

You can read all about what makes us so ‘green’:

We are unique in the sense that we use our own water supply, our water filters down through the surrounding Preseli Mountains and collects in a home built well. The environment agency regularly test the water and it has been found to be perfect for use without any filtration or purification. All waste water production from the brewery is gravity piped to a reed bed filtration system before it is returned to a local trout stream.

We also have solar panels fitted on top of our brewery building, allowing us to use a sustainable source of energy for our visitor centre and shop. In 2017, we also constructed a grass roof for our stage area, where we have planted shrubs and designed our own self-watering system. We even managed to grow a few strawberries up there last summer!
During the brewing process we are very waste conscious. Whilst moving water from the boiling tank to the cooling tank a heat exchange process takes place. We use a plate cooler to cool the boiling liquid down and instead of throwing away the leftover hot water, we reuse it in the mashing stage; reducing our excess waste.

After brewing we feed any spent hops, yeast, beer slops and the brewer’s grain to the cattle and sheep on the farm – we do our absolute best to make sure we don’t waste a thing!
The brewery has become a local hub for the community. The local Gardening Club, where members swap seeds, plants and advice hold regular meetings in our visitor centre. We host a variety of live music, comedy, poetry & fundraising events throughout the year which are well attended by our local community as well as visiting holidaymakers. We have also recently set up a ‘Friends of Bluestone Brewing Company’ group, to allow other people to run their own events using our site. Another chance for the community to come together and enjoy the Brewery space.

In 2017 we decided to try our hand at a one off Organic Green Hop Beer. The principle was to produce a once yearly green hop beer with the help of the local community. We, as a brewery, purchased the plants for the gardening club members. We then asked the members to collect their hops and take them home to grow. We harvested the hops this September and, with the help of the community, brewed our first ever green-hop pale ale. The idea is to increase awareness off quality beer but also to encourage the local community to get a thorough understanding of the brewing process, and to have fun!

The brewery staff have also been heavily involved with promoting and collecting for Syrian refugees, with the brewery acting as collection centre for clothing, food and bedding and these items are then delivered to a major collection point in Cardiff by the brewery vans whilst delivering beer. We are also now a collection point for Bikes for Africa, a charity that oversees the refurbishing of bikes for redistribution to rural African communities, with over 75 bikes delivered to partaking Halfords stores again delivered whilst delivering beer.

In the Summer of 2018, we built our very own Compost toilet block. We tried to be a bit creative and built the urinals out of old beer barrels, and they seem to provide everyone with a bit of a laugh when they go to use them!

We’ve also recently converted an old and tumbling down traditional stone building into a building suitable for a bottling plant. The bottling plant will cut transport costs and a round trip of some 345 miles per bottling run, significantly reducing our carbon footprint. We are also moving from vacuum wrapping to boxes. All plastic is currently stored in one tonne bags and collected annually for plastic processing. In our office, we only used recycled paper in our printers and all our lightbulbs are energy saving. We have also had malt bags sewn into carrier bags and these are then sold as souvenir carry bags for the public to use when buying beers from our shop. Any waste cardboard is given to our local gardening club to use on their gardens, and we plan to begin shredding some too to use as bedding for our farm animals.

Our aim is to have zero waste going to landfill by the end of 2019.

Click here to read more about the Green Key initiative