3 pub companies who are paving the way for a sustainable future

“The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.” – Greta Thunberg.

Since its founding in 2007 by college friends James Watt & Martin Dickie, Brewdog has seen no limit to its growth. They opened up their 100th bar last year in Dublin, another thing to add to their portfolio of ever growing business ventures which includes Brewdog hotels, a distillery for Brewdog craft spirits and even a Brewdog Airline. Did I mention they also hold the title of best selling craft beer in the UK? They’ve come a long way since selling their small batch beers at markets across Scotland. 

It’s undoubted that Brewdog are one of the biggest names in the craft industry & have set a leading example for micro breweries all over the world. Today, the company are still setting examples as to how businesses can operate in a more sustainable manner.

Earlier this year Brewdog launched ‘Brewdog Tomorrow’ a set of guidelines that they’ll be working towards in the coming years. These include switching all their delivery vans to electric vehicles, recycling leftover beer by using it in their distilling and upcycling old cans to avoid them going to landfill (expect your beer to come in cola cans!). They’ll also be investing £1 million a year in research and initiatives that help the industry to have a positive impact on the world. 

By 2022 they plan to make their brewery & operations fully carbon neutral. We salute you Brewdog!

One of Brewdog’s new electric delivery vans.

Another company of humble beginnings, founded in 1799 by brewer Benjamin Greene in Bury St. Edmunds. When Benjamin retired he passed the brewery over to his son Edward, who in 1887 saw the company merge with another local brewery that belonged to Fredrick William King and henceforth Greene King was born. Fast forward 130 years and it’s now the UK’s biggest brewer & pub retailer. 

In 2019 Greene King signed up to two national pledges to reduce food waste, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap & the government’s Step Up to the Plate pledge, both which aim to reach food reduction targets & highlight to customers ways that they can help in reducing food waste. As well as this, Greene King also became the first pub company to partner with Too Good To Go, an app which allows users to purchase leftover carveries at a discounted rate to avoid excess food waste.

But Greene King not only looked at reducing food waste throughout their company, as of April 2020 Greene King was the first pub company to achieve the Carbon Trust’s Zero Waste to Landfill standard. In 2012 Greene King partnered with distributor Kuehne & Nagel and in 2013 with waste management company SWRnewstar to innovate the way they dispose of their waste & create a joint recycling model that was sustainable & stimulated change in the pub industry. 

From this partnership they implemented a number of initiatives across their pubs & brewery, they invested in infrastructure such as coloured recycling bins so waste could be correctly segregated & recycling dealt with in a more efficient manner,  they invested in their delivery fleet to ensure it could cope with the growing recycling chain & also created eLearning modules for their staff to ensure everyone was educated on the importance of recycling. As a result, the company saw a 42% reduction in the number of general waste bins across the entire pub estate. In order to effectively implement change, we must first educate ourselves & Greene King are doing just that. 

Greene King sells leftover carveries on food wastage app ‘Too Good To Go’.
Oakman Inns

Peter Borg-Neal founded Oakman Inns in 2007, after a long career working in multiple departments of hospitality (Including starting as a cellar boy at just 16). Today, they have over 20 sites across the UK & are one of the most dedicated pub companies to achieving a sustainable business model. 

On Earth day 2017, Oakman Inns started the revolution against single use plastic in the pub industry. They became the first UK pub group to ban plastic straws across their whole estate, setting an example for thousands of UK pubs who followed suit in the next few months. In the next steps to banning single use plastic, all their takeaway boxes, takeaway coffee cups & food containers are now made from a vegetable based compostable material.

But it didn’t stop there, Oakman Inns knew as they grew in size they had to look at how they could operate more sustainably across the board. That’s why now, they buy British ingredients wherever they can to cut down to freight miles, in their kitchens you’ll only find meat from suppliers whose animal welfare is outstanding and all their fish is sustainably sourced. 

As well as this, Oakman Inns use LED lighting & recycled building materials wherever possible and have installed solar panels & charging points for electric cars at many of their sites. We hope to see many more businesses following their leading example as 2020 rolls forwards! 

“Straws Suck”, says Oakman Inns as pubs ban use of plastic straws on Earth Day.

As one of the biggest industries in the UK, we have a vital role to play in ensuring our business methods are both ethical & sustainable for the greater good of the planet.

We want to thank all the pubs & restaurants who are consciously doing their part in creating a better tomorrow!

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