Pure Project: In pursuit of a more sustainable brew


San Diego is known as the Beer Capital of America, and with 155 craft breweries, it is clear why.  While the brewing process can be environmentally taxing – using numerous gallons of water in each step, and requiring grain that often uses chemicals for growth and fossil fuels for transport – there are a few stand-out companies doing their part to reduce their footprint, and Pure Project Brewing Company is one of them.  

First conceived of on a backpacking trip in 2013, Pure Project started out as a Costa Rica-based craft brewing company, eventually making their way to San Diego and opening to the public in early 2016.  From the start, founders Mat Robar and Jesse Pine were environmentally focused, wanting to incorporate sustainability and conservation into their craft, giving back to organizations that do the same, as often as possible.  


As part of the original concept, Mat and Jesse wanted to focus their efforts in the brewing process on sustainability. They decided to brew with the seasons, relying heavily on locally sourced grains and adjuncts as they are seasonally available. Pure Project sources a large amount of their malted barley out of Admiral Maltings, California’s only CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) certified malting operation, located in Alameda, California. In 2018, Pure Project used 32 tons of local, sustainably grown malt from Admiral Matings, which adds up to about 40 tons of raw, California-grown grain.  


In addition to their sustainability efforts, Pure Project is deeply conservation-focused, and they continually strive to reduce unnecessary waste in every aspect of their organization. In 2018 they switched to using giant rubber bands to keep their kegs on pallets, saving 26,431 sq ft (0.6 acres) of plastic wrap from entering landfills.  In addition, Pure Project reuses many of their used malt bags as trash and recycling bags throughout the brewery and tasting room. This adds up to over 1,000 plastic bags saved every year, which reduces their plastic impact and their water footprint. In an effort to be zero waste, they also no longer use plastic can ring holders, and instead ask patrons to bring reusable bags to transport their beer. 


The Pure Project family firmly believes in protecting our planet for future generations, and became a 1% for The Planet partner right out of the gates. This means that 1 percent of all Pure Project sales (not just profits) gets donated back to local, environmental non-profits that are working within and for the community, as well as internationally – protecting both land and sea for future generations to cherish.


Winslow Sawyer joined the team in late 2015, as the head brewmaster, and with a background in agriculture, and a senior thesis on sustainability in the brewing industry, he seemed like the perfect fit for the company. He keeps busy imagining up new, seasonal brews, and is constantly collaborating with other local brewers to produce the best product possible. Pure Project takes pride in their attention to detail, and works to craft every tap list with variety and complimenting flavors. Their tap list is constantly changing, and with two bottle and can releases every month, you’re sure to find something you’ll love, while supporting sustainability and conservation, and giving back at the same time. Check them out at their tasting room in Miramar or at their new location-Banker’s Hill-opening this summer.