Recycling Brewery Waste: Can It Hurt Your Brewery?

The ideas are limitless. Give spent grain to farmers for feed or fertilizer. Recycle spent grain as compost. Use spent grain to create new products, such as candles or soap. Partner with companies that use spent grain as an ingredient in a new product, such as ReGrained’s granola bars.

Beall Brewery Insurance is consistently impressed with all the environmentally-conscious uses for spent grains and other brewery waste products. But in transferring waste products to other entities, breweries must also remember to protect themselves from risk exposure.

We encountered one brewery, for instance, that was diligent about saving its spent grain for a local farmer. How did that brewery waste get out to the farm? The farmer drove out to the brewery in a pickup truck, filled the flatbed, and then drove it back to the farm. No doubt both the farmer and the brewery have the best of intentions. But the brewery may not realize it is exposing itself to claims of injury, if the farmer gets hurt on brewery property while hauling away spent grain.

Recycling Brewery Waste While Protecting Your Brewery

Does your brewery have relationships with other entities that take care of your spent grain or other brewery waste? Or are you considering entering into such a relationship? Here are some points to think about.

  • Do you have a written agreement with that other entity that spells out each party’s responsibilities? Such an agreement could address
  1. who will transport the waste
  2. release of liability due to injury resulting from the transport
  3. indemnification if the spent grain is moldy or otherwise unusable
  • If a third party will be entering your brewery property to pick up spent grain or other brewery waste, will your brewery insurance cover any injuries or incidents that may occur? What would happen if the third party slipped and fell on brewery property?
  • Will your brewery be remunerated for its spent grain or other brewery waste, or are you considering it a donation to the third party? Do you need documentation of the amounts of the donation for your corporate taxes?
  • How will the third party recognize your brewery’s participation in their business? For instance, if a company is using your brewery’s spent grain to create a product, will your brewery name and logo be featured on the company website? Is there an opportunity for shared advertising? Would that company’s product be a good fit for sales in your brewery tasting room, and if so, what would the financial framework of that relationship be?

First Steps for Recycling Brewery Waste

It’s smart for any business to be environmentally conscious. It can prove beneficial to the financial bottom line—and be a great way to attract new fans. But if your brewery is serious about finding ways to recycle spent grain and other brewery waste, check with your attorney, your accountant, and your insurance agent to make sure that you are approaching this new endeavor wisely.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.