02:30 AM

​Ohio State graduate helps brew an environmentally friendly beer

If you think of green beer, your thoughts might turn to the objectively bad, dyed brew served on St. Patrick’s Day. For the owners and operators of Land-Grant Brewing Company, green beer has a much more thoughtful connotation.

The Columbus-based brewer is aiming to become the most sustainable brewery in Central Ohio, and a graduate of The Ohio State University is helping them lead the way.

“We’ve successfully made a case for why sustainable beer sells and how it can be sourced locally,” said Vincent Valentino, sustainability manager for Land-Grant.

Valentino graduated in Ohio State’s second class of Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability majors. The Centerville, Ohio, native spoke at a breakfast hosted by the School of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Professionals Network on Tuesday.

As the craft beer boom continues, many of these small businesses are dealing with issues that have a big environmental impact. Valentino said his job at Land-Grand is to improve energy efficiency, water stewardship and waste diversion.

Breweries use resources like electricity, natural gas and water to create beer, and managing those resources as efficiently as possible helps maker for a greener operation. Valentino said improving the lighting at the plant saved the company a bundle in electricity costs.

“We reduced the outdoor energy consumption for lighting by 80 percent and indoor energy consumption by 50 percent,” he said.

Breweries also create byproducts from their beer creation. And disposing of them can prove to be a challenge.

Land-Grant is working with Hoffman Farms in Hilliard to use spent grains as feed. Valentino also arranged a partnership with Ohio State to use yeast as fertilizer for the Garden of Hope at Waterman Farm and St. Stephen’s Community Center in Linden.

The deals are mutually beneficial: Land-Grant uses mint grown at St. Stephen’s and pumpkins from Waterman Farms to flavor its beers.

Valentino is applying in the real world the tools he learned at Ohio State. For members of the Environmental Professionals Network, his message demonstrates the impact of that education.

“It’s really humbling when we have our students come back, people we’ve helped mentor, and watch how articulate they’ve become and how professional and engaging they are with the community,” said Mark Giese, advancement and alumni engagement officer in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.