June’s networking event brought WEN members to Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul, where we enjoyed some delicious craft beer served with a side of sustainability and an inspiring story of women leading the way in a traditionally male-dominated field.
As Minnesota’s first woman-owned microbrewery, Urban Growler is unique in that aspect alone – but the company’s twist on using local ingredients to create their Plow to Pint ® series of brews is extra special. Supporting local farmers and strengthening the surrounding community is part of the “we’re all in this together” mentality that is intentional and illustrated by Urban Growler’s circular logo.
To pursue their dream of opening a brewery together, co-owners Deb Loch and Jill Pavla gave up successful corporate jobs and underwent six years of planning, training, and working hard to build up a team of investors. Their dream came to fruition when Urban Growler opened its doors in July 2014 (read more about Deb and Jill’s journey here). They built the brewery, taproom, and beer garden with a simple mission—to bring people together through beer—so it’s fitting that WEN’s members came together on June 20th in the Barrel Room to get to know each other a little better before heading off on the brewery tour led by Master Brewer Deb.
Urban Growler’s brick walls once housed St. Paul’s police horses in the 1800s (which the Horse Ghost Farmhouse Ale pays tribute to), so the company gets sustainability props right away for adaptive reuse and repurposing of the building. Making beer is an energy and water-intensive process in general, but Urban Growler’s brewing process takes advantage of reusing hot water to save resources and costs. The company also recycles everything it can, composts on site, and filters and reuses cooking oil to operate more sustainably. Spent grain is sent to a nearby farm, turning what could be a waste product into a valuable food source for farm animals. Urban Growler further minimizes potential waste by packaging its canned beer with eco-friendly 4-pack rings and implementing a labeling system that cuts back on needed materials by using generic labels adaptable across their beer inventory.
At the end of the tour, we asked Deb what she would want people to know about Urban Growler. Besides the obvious—they serve good beer—she exclaims “We’re warm and welcoming – and ready for a party!”