Up and coming brewery and smokehouse ensures that sustainability is at the forefront of their business by filtering brewery wastewater to reuse in their greenhouse

Ian Leis has always been interested in the hospitality industry, starting as a dishwasher and working his way up to management. He knew he wanted to start a restaurant but could never land on an idea. One day, Ian and his friend were joking about homebrewing and Ian knew he was going to have his own brewery one day. In 2015, Ian got his license for Ward 1 Brewing Co., living in the Ward at the time. He has since moved out to Highway 6 North, just outside of Guelph, and the new location has a fully equipped kitchen that encouraged Ian to open a smokehouse alongside the brewery. The Ward 1 Brewing team has been working diligently to renovate their space into a fun and welcoming atmosphere by splitting it into sections for private groups and those who prefer a traditional bar setting. Ward 1 Brewing is set to have their grand opening in late summer to early fall.

To bring his vision to fruition, Ian began working with the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington to develop the initial business plan before moving on to Innovation Guelph’s Startup Program. In the Startup Program, Ian worked with his mentor to put his business plan into action and to stay on track to launch. When Ian learned about the Seeding Our Food Future (SOFF) program, he was already looking into ways to make his business more sustainable. Ward 1 Brewing only has so much room to percolate the water on the land and cannot handle the added brewery water as well. Ian consulted another brewery about the issue but ultimately decided he wanted to solve the issue on site, rather than trucking the water away. At the time, Ward 1 Brewing was growing a variety of vegetables outside and in their greenhouse. They envisioned utilizing the wastewater from the brewery to heat the greenhouse and watering the plants with it once it has cooled. Ian’s project for SOFF is to test this theory and begin collecting the water in food grade totes, treating the water, and filtering it into the greenhouse.

For Ian, circularity starts with respecting the earth in order to fully embrace its natural systems. On a personal level, Ian always tries to implement sustainable practices into his daily life. At Ward 1 Brewing, it is crucial that circularity is at the forefront of their business. It is more than doing one activity in support of sustainability. Ward 1 ensures that every process has the least amount of impact on the earth. Ian also believes that circularity is a great tool for small businesses to connect with each other to lessen their impact, reduce costs and waste, and build lasting relationships.

 Photo by Christin Noelle on Unsplash