You might be disappointed to hear that brewing beer has an impact on the environment. From growing the raw ingredients to the minute you lift the glass to your lips, there are a whole host of environmental issues that come into play: from greenhouse gases and waste to single use plastic and wildlife conservation. 

Since the early days, reducing Stroud Brewery’s negative impact on the environment has been of utmost importance to us and, in 2018, we became the first UK brewery to be certified as both organic and a B Corporation. We’re constantly finding new ways to be greener in every aspect of the business – including how we make our beer (you can read our Impact Report (link) to find out more).  

Between 5 and 45% of a pint of beer’s environmental footprint is affected by the amount of packaging used which, in turn, depends on how it’s stored and delivered to the drinker. There are a number of ways to do this once it’s been brewed: in bottles, in cans, in kegs or in casks.


Casks and kegs are both types of barrel used to transport and store beer in a pub or brewery, and both are re-used multiple times. But beer needs help to flow out of these barrels, along pipes and through the tap/pump into your glass:

  • in kegs, carbon dioxide and nitrogen are artificially added to create the pressure needed to pump the beer out. When it’s refilled, these gases get released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Kegs also have to be chilled and the refrigeration process uses a lot of energy, leading to more carbon dioxide being produced and released. 
  • cask beer is pulled out of the barrel with a hand pump which uses gravity to pour beer into the glass. Cask beer is also served at cellar temperature so rarely needs chilling.

Compared to all of the storage and delivery options, cask beers have the least environmental impact. Their storage causes a third less carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere compared to a non-returnable bottle, for example, because of the amount of packaging, transport, the environmental cost of manufacturing and the disposal.

We now supply our beer for drinking at home in cans instead of bottles because this is better for the environment. Why? Lots of reasons: 

  • Although bottles can be infinitely recycled, frustratingly they’re generally not. Aluminium can be recycled endlessly and 75-80% of a can is made from recycled material. Plus this uses just 5% of the amount of energy needed to make a new one from non-recycled aluminium.
  • Aluminium cans are lighter and smaller. This means fewer lorry loads to transport more beer: that’s less fuel and fewer emissions of nasty gases like carbon dioxide. 
  • Bottles used to be stored on cardboard trays and covered with plastic shrink wrap. We still use cardboard trays but only need a third of the amount since cans are far more robust than glass, and we can use paper tape not shrink wrap. 

We’ve also made canning our beer more environmentally friendly - Instead of sending it off to other companies, we’ve bought a canning machine and do it ourselves. No transport means no release of greenhouse gases, plus it stops 10-15% of beer being lost during the whole process. 

We hope you agree these are all great reasons why we “canned” bottles in 2021!