Monday, May 25, 2009

Application Mailed!

We’ve been working hard over the last 6 weeks or so going through the process to get certified organic and today, we mailed in the application!

The process of getting certified is quite a challenge. It involves much more than just using certified organic raw materials and requires a crazy amount of documentation. After going through the process though, there will be a couple cool things we can do. For example, we could trace back from any bottle or keg of our beer which batch of beer it was, what lot of grain and hops went into that batch, where it was malted and which farm grew it! Crazy.

We needed a tremendous amount of help to get our record keeping and process documentation ready for the certifier, and we were very fortunate to get that help from our intern, Anne Morin. Anne is graduating from University of Guelph’s Alfred College campus in quality assurance and nutrition and she was responsible for getting us up to speed. We’ve hired her for the rest of the summer to help us make sure we stay compliant and also research more enviro-cool things we can do.

The application itself is hundreds of pages long, documenting every cleaning procedure, every quality assurance program and tracking procedures for every ingredient for every brand. I weighed the thing and its 1.5lbs of paperwork!

5 comments:

Matt said...

The certification process is hard but in the end you will probably make better beer due to the record keeping requirements needed for certification .

Are you going to grow mushrooms or grow worms with your spent grain as a way to limit your environmental footprint... it seems its the most enviromentaly way to use the grain if you are small enough .

If you did this you would be on your way to be enviro-cool but the Ultimate in Enviro-Cool is a Zero Emmisions brewery.

http://www.vermontmushrooms.com/indoorcultivationmethods.htm

http://www.zeri.org/case_studies_beer.htm

Greg said...

So who exactly do you have to apply to for this certification? Is it some government agency or a third party?

Also to expand on the comment above, you should totally use some of that spent grain to make bread. I have had some awesome beer bread in the past.

Steve Beauchesne said...

Right now our spent grains (and hops and yeast) are going to a local farmer who raises organic tamworth pork with them, although we've occassionally shipped some for bread as well.

We've started looking at mushrooms too, and most of the enviro-cool stuff we're looking at is geared towards reducing emmissions, so we're definitely on a path that will get us to zero...but we've got a while to go still.

Matt said...

Steve if your looking at reducing emissions do not feed spent grain directly to livestock becuse they cant digest the Lignin Cellulose properly and they produce more methane as their digestive system tries to cope with converting complex starches and there have been reports of piglets dying because they where fed solely on spent grain and basically starved because their young digestive systems couldn't digest the grain .

What you have to do is give the pigs spent mushroom substrate because enzymes from the mushrooms will break down the lignin making it digestible to livestock .

Steve B said...

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the great comments...our farmer has done a lot of research and I'm happy to report no piggy fatalities. She has been doing shroom tests but she isn't quite there yet for an ongoing system, but we'll get there.

Cheers,

Steve