Africa’s First Carbon Neutral Brewery Announced. Well done Darling Brewery.

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If beer is your drink of choice, make sure it’s from a carbon neutral brewery.

Darling Brew, a gorgeous craft brewery in the town of Darling in the Western Cape, is making environmental waves. Having been officially declared as Africa’s first carbon neutral brewery the brewery is expected to offset a total of 687.96 tons of CO2 over the next year. The equivalent to having eliminated the same amount of carbon from the environment as 17 829 tree seedlings grown over 10 years.

Located off a winding road that leads from the heart of Darling to its quaint outskirts, where urban edge meets sweeping views across the wheat fields, is where I find Darling Brew’s most impressive state of the art facility. The premises are massive and custom built to allow an all in one Darling Brew experience. Here they offer a fascinating look at the world of craft brewing, beer tasting and a restaurant that serves delicious beer paired meals made from fresh, organic, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. There’s a lovely garden and kiddies play area too.

I’ve visited the brewery to learn about the progress they’ve made since their inception, and the story reads like an ode to craft, where art, the environment and sustainability are key.  Meaning that this ultimate commitment is a natural step in their evolution to do what is right in the production of their fine set of beers.

Anybody who knows the brew will be instantly impressed by two things, the size of the bottle at 500ml, and the labels that tell a story through the imaginative names that honour endangered animals. Each beer in the range has unique characteristics and supports it’s namesake through various conservation programs they donate to.

Among them – Black Mist, for the Verreaux’s Eagle. Gypsy Mask for the Roan Antelope. The Sun Gazer for the Sungazer lizard. Slow Beer for the Geometric Tortoise. Rogue Pony for the Plains Zebra. Thunder Bird for the Southern Ground Hornbill. Warlord for the Black Rhino. White Bird for the White Albatross. Silver Back for the Honey Badger. Bone Crusher for the Spotted Hyaena. Long Claw for the Panthera Leo. Blood Serpent for the Secretary Bird and more.

Africa’s First Carbon Neutral Brewery

In order to become Africa’s first carbon-neutral brewery, Darling Brew has calculated their carbon footprint by means of a greenhouse gas audit. This carbon footprint is then offset through impact choice, a provider of end-to-end environmental sustainability solutions, who also ensure the emissions are offset via responsible carbon capturing and reduction projects.

In 2016, Darling Brew released Africa’s first carbon-neutral beer, Blood Serpent, with the intention of later extending it across the range. Blood Serpent was seen as a catalyst within the African beer industry, especially towards decarbonisation and company buy-in for carbon neutrality. The beer was celebrated for being an innovation, not only within the craft beer industry but towards sustainability in Africa.

Darling Brew has been on its sustainability journey since opening in 2010 when they created their line of craft beers which drive awareness on animal conservation in Africa. “It’s not about doing what we like with our operations and just offsetting our impact,” says Kevin Wood, owner and founder of Darling Brew, “It’s about our commitment to continuously reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible whilst using the offsetting process as a way of further redressing our impact.”

In order to ensure that the brewery is reducing its impact, Darling Brew has teamed up with sustainability consultants Ecolution Consulting who, in addition to guiding the brewery through the carbon offsetting process, are working with Darling Brew to reduce the water and energy consumption, as well as the brewery’s waste to landfill percentage. “We are identifying short and long-term strategies to ensure that Darling Brew continues to travel further along their sustainability journey,” says André Harms, sustainability engineer and founder of Ecolution Consulting. “This started with the procedure of tracking and recording consumption and waste data to ensure that real progress is being made.”

The brewery has recently taken to openly and prominently displaying the month to month statistics on their water, waste, energy and carbon use in the hopes of including Darling Brew’s patrons in the journey and spreading awareness.

In addition to the carbon offsetting and consumption tracking, Darling Brew have implemented a series of green initiatives in the brewery that includes water efficient fittings, waterless urinals, ongoing recycling and food waste management and the use of upcycled furniture and recycled wood in the brewery and tasting room area. “We are excited to progress on this journey,” says Kevin Wood. “Going carbon neutral is a massive step for us, but certainly not the last.”

The Ecolution Vision: We live, work and play sustainability.

About the Carbon Offsetting Process

In order to simplify how much impact humans have on the environment, environmentalists have equated all impacts to one measurable yardstick: carbon emissions. Carbon emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels. This is measured in metric tons of CO2.

impactChoices’ technology provides a unique solution that enables Darling Brew to apportion these emissions through their brewing process and then mitigate these through the purchase of certified Carbon Credits resulting in a carbon-neutral brewery and line of beers.

The financial benefits of these Carbon Credit purchases are received by The Kariba REDD+ project in Northern Zimbabwe, which works with communities to rehabilitate forests and through sustainable farming practices whilst ensuring gender parity and social upliftment. REDD+ is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the carbon offsets are validated by the Verified Carbon Standard, the Gold Standard and the Plan Vivo.

About Darling Brew

Darling Brew is one of South Africa’s first well established and award-winning microbreweries since 2010. They brew a wide range of great craft beers that are loved for their flavour, high-quality ingredients and slow brewing process. Each beer in the range has unique characteristics and an inspiring story dedicated to the endangered creature it honours and supports through various conservation programs.

About Ecolution Consulting

Ecolution Consulting is a professional sustainability consulting firm that provides expert insights, solutions and consulting services for businesses in any industry and buildings of any nature. Their services assist clients who are striving to be environmentally responsible businesses.

About impactChoice

impactChoice is a leading provider of environmental sustainability solutions. The impactChoice Natural Asset Exchange blockchain platform and EARTH Token (EARTH) creates a unique opportunity to invigorate the Natural Asset Market and enable all stakeholders in the value chain to participate. Transforming Environmental Sustainability from a financial burden to a business incentive by finally providing all contributors with tangible assets that will appreciate in value as the market grows – allowing the market to grow organically and achieve its massive potential.

The Essential Details

You can connect with Darling Brew on their website Darling Brew. Darling Brew’s new premises are situated at 48 Caledon Street in Darling, an easy hours drive from Cape Town. Contact them on 021 2861099 or tasteroom@darlingbrew.co.za for more info. Given how popular they are, please book to avoid disappointment as the restaurant works on by booking only basis. Also, you may want to consider staying in Darling, for this I recommend The Granary Petite Hotel.

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