Against the grain

Stories from two brewers in Oregon who are reintroducing refillable bottling to the US market

On Zoom: April 29th, 7:oo pm – 8:30 pm EDT

Over the last 75 years, the tide has been rapidly flowing away from refillable bottling (think–the milkman from the 1920s). Rather than being swept away, Matt Swihart with Double Mountain Brewery was actively swimming against that tide. For six years he was the only brewery in Oregon running a refillable bottle system. Now the movement has spread into a statewide program, and others such as Van Havig with Gigantic Brewing are swimming right alongside him in this once crazy-sounding endeavor. Their commitment to this movement is grounded in the staggering difference in the environmental impact of using refillable bottles rather than single-use containers.

These stories will be followed by a roundtable discussion on what this could mean for rural communities. Bring questions to those who have been through it! What obstacles are there? How can they be overcome? What do the numbers say about the environmental impact?

If this gripping subject matter isn’t enough, Matt will generously be mailing samples of his beer in refillable bottles to participants who register by April 20th. Register now and throw one back with us!

If you missed the roundtable below is the recording!


About Panelists:

Matt Swihart is the founder and brewmaster of Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, Oregon. He has championed sustainable packaging with reintroducing refillable bottles to the US market. He has worked in the brewing industry for over 25 years and had a former career working in the military industrial complex as an Aerospace Engineer. He prefers making beer.

Van Havig started his brewing career in 1995 at Minnesota Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, before working for the Rock Bottom Breweries for the next 16 years. He was brewmaster at the Bethesda, Maryland and Portland, Oregon Rock Bottoms, as well as the regional brewer in both locations and the company QA/QC manager. He’s a current board member and past president of the Oregon Brewers Guild. In 2011 he won the Inge Russel Best Paper Award from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. He and business partner Ben Love started Gigantic Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. Gigantic has taken home top honors at Mondial de la Biere in Montreal, Quebec, the World Beer Cup and at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO, and was rated the fifth best new brewery in the world for 2012 by Rate Beer.

Caren founded Conscious Container, a California Benefit Corporation, in 2017 to bring a refillable marketplace back into the US economy and infrastructure, and beyond. After over 20 years as a successful project and change management consultant Caren was inspired by the circular economy solutions refillables presented. As a boot-strapping start-up she conducted proof-of-concept collection pilots which proved the demand and desire for this refillable glass bottle marketplace. With her amazing team, Caren is working collaboratively and strategically across key stakeholder groups including policymakers, beverage producers, local and regional governments/cities, industry groups and non-profits as Conscious Container launches and scales this “benefit for all” sustainable refillable business model. On the side Caren loves mountain sports and connecting with family, friends and anyone who wants to dialog about refillables!

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