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Mixing beer with sustainability: Sky High discusses environmentally friendly practices at library event
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Mixing beer with sustainability: Sky High discusses environmentally friendly practices at library event

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How to brew craft beer and keep the environment in good working order were on the menu at Friday’s quarterly meeting of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition.

A crowd of about 100 people at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library heard a presentation from Sky High Brewing and Pub head brewer Paul Miller and Heidi Lewis, who handles creative operations for the downtown Corvallis establishment.

The brewery’s sustainability practices began with the building of the facility in 2012. Reclaimed redwood lumber donated by the First Alternative Co-Op became beams in the restaurant, the stairs also were built out of recycled wood, 95 percent of the lights are LEDs and solar panels are on the roof.

The brewery buys 95 percent of its hops from Willamette Valley growers and recycles the water it uses to cool down the wort mixture to a temperature that will allow yeast to trigger the fermentation process. The spent grains and hops are shipped to local farmers to feed to their pigs. Sky High cooks with recycled oil and buys napkins made of recycled fibers.

“We’re a small business,” Miller said, “and it’s where you get things from that matters … how do we source it, use it and dispose of it.”

Miller said that putting together a brewery always has been a dream of owner Scott McFarland and that he “wanted to do it the right way.”

In other presentations at the meeting:

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• Mica Habarad, development assistant with Jackson Street Youth Services, spoke about the programs the nonprofit offers and noted the homelessness challenges that youths face.

Jackson Street operates overnight shelters for those 10 to 17 years of age in Corvallis and Albany and also operates drop-in services in Albany and Lebanon.

Habarad emphasized that the age bracket really extends to 24 because of services and assistance the program tries to provide once teens have left the shelter.

• Kriste York outlined the work of The Resilience Project, which uses digital story telling to help foster community connections.

• Jeanette Hardison of the coalition’s waste prevention action team offered the first results of the group's No Food Left Behind project, which is targeting food waste.

Using a grant from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, project managers recruited families to monitor their food waste processes during a six-week period. The grant paid for digital scales and brochures with strategies on reducing food waste. The coalition matched the grant funds with the purchase of compost pails.

The first data from the 31 households that took the challenge, Hardison said, showed that food waste was reduced by 21 percent.

Coming up, the project is hosting a pickling workshop at 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the library.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or


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