Goose Island pale ale is green from factory to glass

May 6, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Known for its varieties of unique beer, Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company is shrinking its carbon footprint from their factory to the consumer's glass.

"When you talk to folks about sustainability and carbon footprints and things like that, they kind of glaze over so it's much easier to communicate that with a beer in their hands," Ian Hughes, brand ambassador, Goose Island Beer Company, said.

The company is making changes throughout its beer making process that conserve resources while cutting costs.

"With our bottling line, we've actually changed out the nozzle that rinses out the bottle before we fill and by reducing orifice size on those nozzles, we've cut the amount of water by over 55%. That'll save us over a million gallons of water over the course of the next year," Hughes said.

Adding high-efficiency lighting on motion sensors and high-speed bay doors reduces heat loss, which makes a difference.

" It opens up when the forklift comes thru and it shuts. It takes about eight seconds to do that," Hughes said.

But the foundation of the company's sustainability efforts is in its most recent addition to its family of beers: Green Line Pale Ale, which is only distributed in kegs and only in the city of Chicago.

"By them only being in kegs, they are reusable. We send them to a bar. They use the beer, send it back to us. We wash it, clean it, fill it back up and send it back out and that reduces a massive amount of waste that's associated with boxes, six pack holders, bottles things like that," Hughes said. "The other thing by keeping it in Chicago, we're also reducing carbon footprint that's associated with transporting it and refrigerating it over long distances."

While Green Line is the company's signature environmental effort, they say they are also working to make the rest of their products more earth-friendly.

"Our carton cases are over 22% post-consumer recycled product. Our six pack holders are 100% recycled paperboard and our bottles contain 30% post-consumer product as well. Even though these aren't associated with Green Line, we're still trying to make them as green as possible," Hughes said.

The Green Line Pale Ale tap handles are made from wood reclaimed from ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer in suburban Wilmette. Find out where you can order Green Line at

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