Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone, from your favorite hopheads!

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22nd, raises awareness of pollution and other pressing environmental issues. Earth Day sparks worldwide events such as rallies and service projects, prompting us to reflect on our impact and motivating efforts to lower carbon emissions and enhance water quality. Earth Day reminds us to respect and appreciate nature, urging us to make daily choices that contribute to a happier, healthier planet.

At Yakima Chief Hops, sustainability isn't merely a buzzword—it's ingrained in our ethos. We are dedicated to environmentally responsible hop cultivation, ensuring we tread lightly on our planet. Our commitment extends beyond words; we actively work towards environmental betterment by investing in sustainability projects, minimizing waste, and fostering collaborative efforts for positive change. Earth Day holds special significance for us—it's not just about honoring tradition but also about leaving a lasting, positive impact on our environment. It's our proactive stance towards cleaning up and preserving our planet for generations to come.

As we reflect on how important this shared rock is to all of us, we are thrilled to look around at our industry partners rallying as a collective to support important issues that affect our daily lives, such as water scarcity and climate change. This month we are stoked to be participating in not one, not two, but 30+ environmental collaborations with industry partners across the globe!

These collaborations include initiatives such as:

  • The Earth to Beer campaign encourages breweries to promote sustainability by sourcing from environmentally friendly producers, fostering enduring partnerships with local environmental nonprofits, and channeling cash donations to such organizations nationwide. It is a national endeavor that challenges brewers to craft a beer that’s better for the planet, pushes the limits of each brewery’s environmental stewardship and business practices, and is available as a packaged product.
  • The Wild & Scenic Earth Day Collaboration was created in support of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s River Democracy Act. This Act aims to protect over
    3,200 miles of the state's waterways as federally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers, with backing from over 15,000 public river nominations and 50 breweries. During Earth Week, the Oregon Brewshed® Alliance will launch the special Wild & Scenic Earth Day Collaboration Series, which highlights the importance of river conservation with beers crafted in honor of their local watersheds.
  • This Earth Day will mark our 3rd annual collaboration with the Yakama Nation to clean up and restore major dump sites on the Yakama reservation. These efforts not only serve to clean up the reservation, but they also bring people and cultures together, providing opportunities to establish lifelong friendships. After the clean-up, Pacific Lampreys will be released into the river as part of the effort to restore lampreys to their once robust numbers in the Yakama Nation’s waters.

In addition to these great collaborative efforts, we would like to highlight a few other things we believe will contribute to a healthier planet and a brighter future for the brewing industry. These include:

  1. Grower Efforts: Our commitment starts in the fields. We work hand in hand with our growers through our Green Chief® Program to implement sustainable farming practices. Our growers are transitioning to drip irrigation, which saves upwards of 50% of water compared to traditional open ditch irrigation methods. We encourage the planting of cover crops to fend off pest pressures, reducing the need for pesticides, and enriching organic matter in the soil to help build resilient hops. Healthy earth, happy hops!
  2. Shift to Renewable Energy: We are big supporters of clean energy and believe we can help make renewable energy more affordable if we act together. In 2023 we generated over 600,000 kWh of renewable energy from our solar panels in our North American and Belgian facilities. Moving forward, we entered a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Power to purchase our remaining energy needs directly from renewable sources such as wind and solar. This will allow YCH to reduce our energy-associated emissions by nearly 25%.
  3. Circular Economy Champs: We're all about closing the loop! From upcycling byproducts to packaging innovations, we're on a mission to turn every little hop into a big win for the planet. Did you know that American Noble is a co-product of our Cryo® process? By using reclaimed bract material from our patented cryogenic production process, we are using the entire cone in the creation of these two unique products.
  4. Columbia River Pledge: YCH has signed on to be a contributing member to the Columbia River Pledge, which ensures clean water for future generations by focusing on climate resilient growing practices and reducing our environmental footprint. Through partnerships with Salmon-Safe, we are amplifying efforts to promote healthy watershed stewardship within the hop and beer industries.

Environmental progress requires collaboration to make a meaningful impact and we need your help! Here is how we can join forces and raise a glass to Mother Earth:

Choose Sustainably: Support breweries and products that share a commitment to
sustainability. Every sip counts!

Spread the Word: Share the love! Educate your friends and fellow beer enthusiasts about the influence sustainable growing practices have on the brewing industry. Knowledge is power, folks.