From Riverbend’s start, we have maintained relationships with family-owned, local farms to provide our high-quality raw materials. We define the Southeastern United States as our grain shed encompassing a roughly 500-mile radius from our Asheville malting facility. However, we source the majority of the grain from within 300 miles.
By contrast, large-scale traditional malting operations tend to be located in the Western United States, Western Canada, and Western Europe, where malting barley has traditionally been grown. Depending on the point of origin, that makes the journey approximately 3,000 miles or more!
As a result, the average number of food miles¹ associated with each batch of malt will be reduced from 3,000 miles (or more) to 300 miles. This equates to a reduction of 4.5 tons of carbon emissions each year for every truckload of grain²!
Based on our current production estimates, these policies result in a reduction of almost 300 tons of carbon emissions per year!
Solid Waste Management
Rootlets generated during the malting process are typically viewed as an unwanted byproduct. However, we worked with locally pastured beef and poultry operations to find a way to divert this material from our landfills. This material is dry and high in protein, making it an ideal feed additive for livestock. We package the rootlets in super sacks for easy transportation by our partners.
This program currently redirects approximately 240,000 pounds per year from landfills.
WNC Brewery Recycling Co-op
The Recycling Co-op is an exciting program spearheaded by Sierra Nevada, Hi-Wire Brewing, and many others across Western North Carolina. Through this program, we are able to recycle 100% of our polywoven super sacks and 50-pound bags.
This program recycles an additional 4 to 6 tons of plastics annually.
Composting of organic material waste from the malting process reduces landfill inputs. We have partnered with Danny’s Dumpster here in Asheville to provide this valuable service.
This program collects approximately 7 to 8 tons of organic waste annually.
Community Volunteer Program
We rely on clean water to produce quality malt and we share a love of the great outdoors. We partner with Asheville GreenWorks to clean up sections of the Swannanoa and Haw Rivers, just up the road from our malthouse.
Our 2021 cleanup program collected more than 1000 pounds of garbage from the river.
As a triple-bottom-line company, we take great pride in maintaining our Living Wage Certified Employer status, meaning that all of our employees are paid living wages as defined by an independent third party. The program is administered by Just Economics and is designed to provide a benchmark for employers to compensate their employees adequately. We also provide full healthcare benefits to all employees.
This program currently supports 16 living wage certified jobs.
¹ “Food miles” is the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer.
² Calculation based on 40,000 lb capacity of a typical 18‐wheeler averaging 6 miles per gallon.