Originally published on Gas2.
By Zachary Coffey
What do Canadian craft brews, classic American cars, and green energy have in common? Steam Whistle Brewing, a Toronto, Canada-based craft brewery that is an exemplary model of the green revolution infiltrating the brewing industry, combining our love of cool cars, green technology, and good beer into a neat and tidy package.
Steam Whistle Brewing has put forth the sincere effort to be eco-friendly at every step, from getting its employees to the factory to delivering its brews to the store, or even your front door, if you ask nicely.
While many companies may be satisfied with a generic looking delivery truck, Steam Whistle emblazons their trademark bright green and blue colors on its entire fleet of vehicles. That fleet is made up entirely of biodiesel tractor trailers and a newly added fully automatic Mac Truck trailer, showing Steam Whistle has a clear focus on decreasing its effects on the environment. For the aforementioned home delivery option, they utilize a fleet of 11 beautifully restored vintage vehicles:
- 1967 Ford Econoline Heavy Duty – “The Steam Machine” (complete with beer taps)
- 1957 Chevrolet Side-Step Pickup – “Grumpy”
- 1964 Jeep Wagoneer – “Grande Verde”
- 1956 Dodge Fargo – “Chuckles”
- 1949 International Stake Truck – “Lumpy”
- 1965 Ford Blue Bird – “The Party Bus”
- 1968 Chevrolet Pickup – “Betty”
- 1950’s Chevrolet Sedan Delivery – “Shakey”
- 1973 Dodge Tradesman – “The Steam Weaver”
- 1970 4×4 Scout 800 – “The Scout”
- 1958 Chevrolet Apache – “Retro Electro”
While each and every one of these vehicles is drool worthy, the ’58 Apache is particularly interesting. As a name like “Retro Electro” implies, the vehicle is 100% electric powered. The story goes that a fan had heard of Steam Whistle’s search for the perfect project, and placed a note on an employee’s car stating that they had their Holy Grail. Upon first look, the Apache was nothing more than a “bucket of bolts,” but a year and a half of development by hot rod specialist Joe Mizsak has left Steam Whistle with this retro green beauty.
“Retro Electro” comes off the line with a mere 90 HP, but 465 lb/ft of tire smoking torque peaking between 200-300 rpms. A 31-spline Ford 9 inch rear at a 1:6.83 gear ratio, a modified Camaro front end and a two piece driveshaft make sure all that torque is delivered to a more than capable drivetrain. Beefed up shocks, upgraded rack-and-pinion steering, and a beautifully balanced 51% rear/49% front weight distribution help ensure a comfortable ride in this daily driver.
Make no mistake, this Apache is by all meanings a true daily driver. Besides being a company car for idea-man Dr. Mike Kiraly, “Retro Electro” does daily home deliveries and willingly lights the tires up at traffic lights. The electric system, designed by Azure Dynamics and installed by Electric Autosports, needed to be reliable with minimum maintenance. The brushless motor, air cooled controller and 96 cells of zero maintenance, sealed batteries help eliminate any maintenance for an initial 2 to 3 year period.
This ’58 truck helps reduce emissions while getting employees to the factory and product to consumers, but in between these steps is where Steam Whistle is making real strides in protecting the environment.
Steam Whistle makes a single beer, its Premium Pilsner, and it makes it well. Based on European brewing standards, the Pilsner incorporates four simple ingredients: spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast. The high-purity spring water is brought in from the Caledon Hills, requiring no filtering. The new facilities, built in 2008, claim to reduce waste water by two-thirds, and phosphate-free cleaning products help reduce contamination of the remaining third. All agricultural products are GMO-free, and spent grains are either used for livestock feed or composted.
100% of the power used in the Steam Whistle brewery, including the power for charging, is produced from wind turbines and low-impact hydro generators. The facilities are cooled by using Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling, reducing carbon dioxide by 79 tons a year. Heating is provided by Enwave’s District Steam Plant, as well as by capturing excess steam during the brewing process. This steam is used to not only to heat the air during the cold Canadian winters, but also to heat water for brewing.
Steam Whistle does its own recycling and encourages consumers to return bottles to the factory for reuse. The signature green bottles contain 30% more glass than traditional brown bottles, allowing the company to wash, inspect and refill the bottles up to 45 times. The painted on logo helps eliminate paper and ink contamination during the washing process, and recycled cartons, unsalvageable glass, bottle caps and shrink wrap are recycled in house to produce new packaging materials. Currently, 95% of waste from Steam Whistle Brewing’s facilities is diverted away from landfills.
Combine all of these puzzle pieces, and you start to get a picture of a brighter tomorrow. Luckily, Steam Whistle Brewing is not alone in their crusade and other efforts, such as The Alaskan Brewing Company’s method of creating power by burning spent grains, are gaining traction in this booming industry. It seems that tasty beer and tasteful production are two things that pair quite well.
Source: Steam Whistle