It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, but the only reason Steam Whistle Brewing‘s pilsner looks green is because it’s packaged in the brewery’s distinctive green bottles.

Oh, they’re having a party, all right—their downtown brewery, housed in a 1929 CN roundhouse, is all ready for an onslaught of blarney. But green beer? Not a chance.

“No food colouring is coming anywhere near our beer,” laughs Joel Barnes, one of the brewery’s tour guides.

Well, the beer may not be green, but the brewery certainly is.

In fact, Steam Whistle is Canada’s greenest brewery (and the second-greenest brewery in North America after Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company). They’ve got 12 different green initiatives going, with almost every aspect of the brewing process—from brewing to packaging to distribution—having a green element to it.

These measures include:

  • All-natural, non-GMO ingredients. Water, yeast, barley, and hops. That’s it. The spring water’s local, although the hops are imported from the Czech Republic and Germany
  • A greener bottle. Yes, the bottle’s literally green. That’s to help filter out sunlight, which might make the pilsner cloudy (and a good pilsner needs to be crystal clear). But the bottles are environmentally friendly, too, using 30% more glass than conventional bottles, which means they can be washed, inspected and filled up to 45 times—three times more than the industry standard.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. Packaging is recycled. Bottles are recycled. Even the spent grain from the brewing process gets turned into cattle feed.
  • Green partying. With their home delivery service and at outdoor events, Steam Whistle provides biodegradable cornstarch resin cups.
  • Green energy. The brewery uses sustainably sourced Bullfrog-powered electricity, and is cooled in the summer months using deep lake water cooling from Enwave (the same company produces steam to heat the brewery in the winter).
  • Clean fuel. Many of Steam Whistle’s truck fleet are powered with biofuel that’s a combination of soy oil and used restaurant oil, and their 1958 pickup truck has been retrofitted with an electric motor (and is affectionately called “Retro Electro”).
  • Clean commuting. The brewery provides showers, towels and covered bike storage for employees who bike to work. The brewery is also located close to bike trails and public transit.

Despite these initiatives, Steam Whistle isn’t actually all that well-known for their environmentalism.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t know we’re the greenest brewing company in Canada—we hear ‘I had no idea’ a lot,” says Catie Cundall, another tour guide.

The word’s managing to get out, though. “We had a kid come on our tour who was studying environmental science,” Cundall says. “He learned so much on the tour that he wrote a paper on the company.”

Looks like green beer just may turn into a year-round thing.

Image credit: D’Arcy Norman