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Lacombe brewery wins award for environmental sustainability efforts

Less than a week after winning Best of Show at the Canadian Brewing Awards, Lacombe’s Blindman Brewing has received more award recognition.
Blindman Brewing co-founders, Hans Doef and Kirk Zembal, accepted an Emerald Award during a ceremony in Edmonton on Wednesday. (Photo via Facebook)

Less than a week after winning Best of Show at the Canadian Brewing Awards, Lacombe’s Blindman Brewing has received more award recognition.

This time, the Central Alberta brewery was acknowledged for its environmental sustainability efforts by winning the Emerald Award during a ceremony at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton on Wednesday. The award Blindman Brewing received was in the Air category, which recognizes projects and initiatives that improve air quality.

Blindman Brewing is the first in Canada to utilize carbon capture in the brewing process of craft beer.

“It’s been a good week. We’ve been on a little bit of a heater (for) awards in the past six months. It’s been great,” said brewery co-founder Kirk Zembal said during an acceptance speech.

“When we started our brewery eight years ago, we wanted to do things better – better beer, better vibes and better for the environment.

“When we looked around and saw things we could be doing or could be doing better, we saw a perfect opportunity to capture and reuse our C02. That was about six years ago.”

RELATED: Central Alberta businesses win at Canadian Brewing Awards

Usually, the C02 produced during the fermentation process of beer is vented into the atmosphere, but Blindman is instead capturing, scrubbing and compressing that C02, and use it to carbonate beer and run canning lines. This helps reduce costs and GHG emissions associated with the brewing process. To date, Blindman has mitigated GHG emissions and created 10 metric tones of food-grade C02.

“There have been a lot of starts and stops, different vendors – the first vendor we were going to use went out of business. There was a lengthy regulatory process because when … you’re actually the first to do something, regulators aren’t used to firsts,” said Zembal.

Since 1992, the Emerald Awards have showcased more than 350 recipients and 850 finalists who are addressing environmental and climate change issues in the province.

The Alberta Emerald Foundation offers year-round programming that aims to engage, inform and empower environmental stewardship in the province.

Emerald Award recipients have their work profiled through the foundation’s Sharing Stories program, which includes the Emerald Documentary Series, What On EARTH Can We Do? podcast, and Emerald Speakers Series. Recipients also receive a $2,000 grant to support their work or to donate to an environmental charity, a certificate and Emerald Award recipient logo, and a feature on the foundation’s website.

For more information on the Emerald Awards, visit

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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