Massachusetts-based Portico Brewing Company has a bunch of great environmental and community-focused initiatives, and they have documented their impact in a new Environmental Handprint Report. The results also showcase a successful first year at the microbrewery and taproom that opened in April 2023.
Formerly a contract brand, Portico debuted its own brewery and community focused taproom near the Somerville-Cambridge line in Massachusetts in spring of 2023. Committed to environmental values, it’s part of the movement that believes in business for good.
The report documents decreased emissions, a reduction in taproom waste, implementation of a taproom reusables program, and a variety of charitable giving and volunteering collaborations with local environmental non-profit groups — all summarized in handy infographics like this:
Taking full advantage of its all-electric brewhouse and kitchen, a design feature that eliminates Scope 1 (on-site) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improves air quality in the facility, Portico subscribed to Somerville’s Community Choice Electricity program in June and chose its “100% Local Green” option.
The switch decreased its Scope 2 (purchased electricity) GHG emissions by 41% (compared to Eversource’s basic service) and prevented 12 Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) emissions over the seven-month time period. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that’s akin to 200 tree seedlings growing and sequestering carbon for 10 years.
To cut back on the amount of taproom waste, Portico used funds from a MassDEP Reduce, Reuse, and Repair Grant to purchase stainless steel cups for its self-service water station, as well as metal trays, flatware, and ramekins for food service. The change to reusables resulted in an estimated 12,737 fewer single-use items ending up in the trash (landfill/incineration). The grant also helped start a consumer take-back program for plastic can carriers (handles that bind 4-packs of cans together) which allowed Portico to rescue and reuse more than 1,500 pieces of the durable packaging.
A key component of an environmental handprint is it’s net-positive approach to sustainability which acknowledges material, energy and waste impacts (commonly referred to as a footprints) by countering them with positive actions that benefit a community and the planet. In that vein, Portico participated in a variety of local environmental initiatives including adoption and care for dozens of newly-planted trees in its neighborhood, a variety of impromptu and formal litter pickups, and the release of a collaboration beer with the Charles River Watershed Association called Dam Free Ale, which raised awareness and funds for the non-profit’s river restoration efforts.
Portico also supported and advocated for safe bike lane infrastructure as part of its effort to become a certified bike-friendly business in 2024. Two staff members took on the Bike Month challenge in May, the taproom hosted Built Environment Plus for one of its stops along a sustainable infrastructure bike tour through Cambridge and Somerville in September, and the brewery’s social media accounts promoted the importance of separated and protected bike lanes during the Cambridge City Council election in November.
Portico’s efforts were rewarded with an official “Green Brewery” designation the BetterBev recognition initiative. A regional effort funded by EPA Pollution Prevention Grants awarded to UMass Boston, the University of Southern Maine, and state environmental agencies in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, its goal is to recognize craft beverage producers that demonstrate continuous progress towards environmentally conscious production and business practices.
Portico hopes to make further strides in 2024 by eliminating all single-use food service ware, adding a food scrap composting program, and joining a local leftover food donation program that will help the taproom earn a zero-waste certification.
Big ups, Portico. Keep it going.