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Tröegs Independent Brewing Crafts Care For Earth, Its Community

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The United States has seen a boom in the craft beer industry in the last couple of decades. From at-home brewers determined to finetune their specific IPA or lager into perfect pour to the behemoths of the hop-centric universe churning out thousands of bottles a day and everyone in between, there seems to be an unquenchable thirst — pun intended — for more craft beer.

Two brothers from central Pennsylvania have that thirst and have since long before they opened their brewery doors in 1997.

However, Chris and John Trogner, owners and proprietors of Tröegs Independent Brewing in Hershey, Pennsylvania, are interested in more than just a good brew and buzz. The Trogner brothers are interested in a good business — but not just on the bank ledger. 

Photo Courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing

Chris explained to The Business Download that Tröegs Independent Brewing is most interested in being “good neighbors” to their community in central Pennslyvania and the greater world around them. This sentiment is why Tröegs Independent Brewing puts sustainability and sustainable practices at the center of all of its operations. 

Chris discussed why this matters so much to the brewing brothers and their company, referencing their “good neighbors” motto. 

“It can start with something that may sound as simple as that. But I think that the meaning is a lot more than just the impact you have on not just people but the environment that’s around you,” he said. “So, we try to minimize our negative impact and have a positive impact on the places where we live, work, and play. And that kind of just that, you know, that translates through in a lot of different areas.”

Photo Courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing

Chris described the first step in sustainable brewing, even if it can sometimes be challenging: local sourcing. 

“With beer making, it can become a little more challenging. Local sometimes means the United States and not from overseas,” Chris said.

“But we are able to source, you know, a handful of ingredients that are raised here. We have a lot of honey that is produced in Pennsylvania.”

“We use a ton of honey for our holiday beer, the Mad Elf,” he continued. “We’ve also been working with some local roasters that are really trying to encourage some of the farms to convert “brewers” grain. And those are ways that we can kind of help support the local farms.”

Photo Courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing  

Pivoting to the sustainable practices in daily use at their brewing facility, Chris explains simple but important ways Tröegs Independent Brewing is lessening its carbon footprint.

“The brewery is fairly energy dependent. So, we use a lot of electricity, we use a lot of water. And, you know, we try our best to try to minimize how much of both of those that we use, and there’s different things that we can,” he said. 

“From a brewing standpoint, we look at water to beer ratio, for instance. Like there’s special equipment that will recapture and reuse water over and over rather than just putting it down the drain,” Chris added.

“For instance, we generate a lot of heat. So, a lot of times, we can reuse that heat in certain areas of the brewery.” 

“So, there’s different equipment and processes that we can do to try to minimize both water use and electricity use,” he said. “We also have a very flat building, so it’s a perfect space for solar panels. So, we can generate … close to 20% of our solar or electrical needs are coming from those.”

Photo Courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing 

While sustainable practices in their brewery are of utmost importance to the Trogner brothers, they also seem to find that fostering sustainability is more than just solar panels, water reuse, or local sourcing. It’s also about sustaining the community around them and giving back to that community. 

They do this through a myriad of charitable endeavors. The brewery supports local children’s charities, plants trees every spring, and sells specialty beers to raise money for various charities throughout the area. 

Photo Courtesy Tröegs Independent Brewing   

Before ending the conversation, Chris encourages fellow beer drinkers to take the opportunity to visit and support their local brewery, specifically a brewery in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

“I guess that would be the parting message,” he said. “If you’re passing through Central Pennsylvania, you know, stop for beer!”

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