Well, I’m happy to say that construction is now a thing of the past and we’re getting down to business here at Smog City Brewing! Porter is bouncing off the walls in anticipation of doing what he does best…brewing. First brew, Groundwork Coffee Porter. Yup, it’s happening and he’s going for a classic! Give us another couple of weeks and we’ll have beers in the market once more.
In the meantime, I want to revisit(and wrap up) the old upcycle-everything theme we’ve talked about over the last two blogs. At Smog City we’re focused on not only saving money but reusing materials that would otherwise end up in the garbage…and then the dump and so on and so forth…clogging up the planet’s proverbial arteries.
So here’s a rundown of the recycling(and penny pinching) we’ve done here at Smog City!
You may remember my facebook post regarding the arrival of our glycol chiller. The packaging was mangled and destroyed. Most of it was literally missing. Only two sides of the pallets were in tact and looking good.
Our office needed partitions and I’d spent the last three months agonizing over the cost and general ugliness of manufactured wall partitions. I’d call up dealers, look at their products and never call back. I was not only disgusted with the corporate look of the partitions, I was balking at the cost. For months Craigslist, used office furniture stores and so on were my stomping ground until one night I was thinking about all of the wood and shipping crates we had lying around when it hit me..let’s use the wood we have to build the partitions.
A little sanding and these two piece slid nicely together. It’s incredibly sturdy and actually makes the office nice and cozy and better laid out than the wide open room it was before. Our son likes his little nook and it looks pretty darn good. Who would have thought?!
When the electricians were done, we asked them to leave behind the wooden spools that held the wires running throughout our brewery. Now Emmett uses them as a table and chairs in the office to eat his lunch on and watch the occasional cartoon. When he needs to run around, he rolls them into the brewery and they become race cars. Double Whammy!
Next we used pieces from our used forklift, which received a facelift upon arrival, as shims to even out the slope beneath our glycol unit. This one is hard to show in photos(so I skipped it) but it has worked perfectly.
Here’s what the taproom bar started out like.
And Here’s the end result, which I posted in the previous blog but for reference I’m doing it once again.
Interesting Anecdote: When I was finishing up the bar, our landlord came to check out some stuff around the building. He’s a collector and restorer of Model A Fords. I told him about our upcycling and he told me that Henry Ford of Ford Motors would request shipping crates in specific and exacting sizes. He would then use the wood from the crates to, among other things, build the floor boards of the cars being produced. In fact, after reading an essay on Henry Ford online, I’ve discovered that he made recycling as much a part of his legacy as the cars he built. Pretty amazing guy actually and an inspiration. Read this if you wanna know more! He’s what they call an early innovator of Industrial Ecology.
These pieces of discarded unistrut are now the wall attachments for our mixing station.
And one of my favorite recycling feats, the pallets we receive kegs and grain on have become our home chicken coop.
Chickens are a special point for me…When I found out that chickens live and thrive off of brewing waste, adding them to our household was a no-brainer. The spent grain we have after a brew is usually taken by cow farmers but chickens love it too! Since we have not been brewing ourselves, we’ve relied heavily on El Segundo Brewing Co and Monkish Brewing to keep our chickens well fed. Thanks Rob and Henry!!
By the way, chickens are incredible. They eat our brewing waste and they fertilize the ground like crazy….yup, they poop…and poop and poop…once you get past the poop as poop and see it as plant food, you begin to appreciate it a lot more. We fertilized our fruit trees this winter with chicken waste and now there’s a bounty of delicious fruit exploding throughout our yard. Oh and did I mention, we eat fresh eggs daily. Chickens are the gift that keeps on giving.
So there you have it. We’re trying to make the most of everything that comes through our brewery doors. The beer is about to start flowing and behind it are two people who have made it their lives and passion to bring quality craft beer to you, your bars and your restaurants while being as environmentally conscious as possible. We hope you’ll come visit us in the taproom and say hi and maybe use this as inspiration to recycle as well.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve recycled or recycled something into? We want to hear it!