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Wicked Weed Brewing

Food Waste Hero: Wicked Weed Brewing

When Asheville-born brewery Wicked Weed was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev back in 2017, many craft beer fans didn’t know what to expect. Would the flavor and soul of Wicked Weed’s craft be lost? Five years on, we can happily say the flavor and soul are safe. And although they’ve scaled up production, sales, and distribution, they’ve also scaled up sustainability efforts. Through employee engagement and both community and internal initiatives, Wicked Weed is setting a high bar: from increasing energy and water efficiency to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They are paying attention to their environmental impact and encouraging staff and patrons to do the same.

Zero waste station made from repurposed wood barrel staves

We could wax poetic about all of Wicked Weed’s energy and plastic reduction efforts but we’re here to talk about food waste. The brewer currently has a 98.5% waste diversion rate (i.e., amount of waste diverted from the landfill to reuse, recycle, and compost). In addition to making food donations, they began a composting program at all facilities for items such as food waste, paper towels, and compostable plates, cups, and utensils and improved their waste diversion rate, to divert about 16% more materials from the landfill.

There are currently robust food waste composting programs at the Brewpub on Biltmore Ave and at the Funkatorium on Coxe Ave while a new compost program at their production facilities not only targets food waste from break rooms but all organic wastes (e.g. fruit, grapes, coffee, etc.) from the brewing process itself. Last year, Wicked Weed sent over 7,000,000 lbs of spent grain to farmers for animal feed (up from 5,000,000 lbs in 2020) and saved over 30,000 lbs of compostable materials from being landfilled. In the future, they hope to get Zero Waste Certified and send all spent yeast and fermenter waste to local farms for feedstock.

Andrew Dagnan, Wicked Weed’s Director of Safety and Sustainability

Food Waste Solutions WNC is proud to have Wicked Weed as a 2022 Food Waste Reduction Month partner. Many thanks to this Food Waste Hero for keeping the flavor and the soul and proving that brewing great beer doesn’t have to come at the expense of our natural resources.

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