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Mill Street Brewery – Setting The Bar For Energy Efficiency


8 minute read

Mill Street Brewery, born out of the Toronto Distillery District, their story begins with the emergence of a small red brick brewery back in 2002. Over the last two decades, one thing has consistently taken precedence over their process. Care and consideration for their environmental footprint on the commercial and local level. 

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), in association with the National Retail Federation, conducted a research study of 18,980 consumers in 28 countries. Some of this data reported 57% of consumers would pivot their spending habits for more environmentally friendly brands. In line with the efforts by the Mill Street Brewery team, the study also reports 77% of consumers consider sustainability and environmentally responsible brands important when asked about their spending habits. 

Not often do we deep dive into what our favourite brands are proactively doing to increase their green initiatives, whether it be energy efficiency, consumption, recycling or waste management. Fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Kaitlin Vandenbosch, Brewmaster for Mill Street Brewery and Bennie Dingemanse, Head Brewer at the Mill Street Brewery Calgary Brewpub to discuss their efforts as an organization and also what it means to their team as they continue to improve their environmentally friendly initiatives. 

An interesting story to tell behind this brand, continuing to produce their Original Organic Lager since the day their doors opened. Continuously seeking new ways as a team to reduce their energy consumption and environmental footprint. Serving local areas in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. Johns, Mill Street is the largest producer of certified organic beer in Canada. The best part is that their certified organic pale barley malt is Canadian grown & processed. The barley they use is grown in Saskatoon and Alberta, then malted in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Kaitlin offers some additional insight into sourcing local as an organization.

“It used to be very difficult to find raw organic materials back in 2002, over the years we have worked very closely with the barley malt industry in North America and Canada Malting. Since 2007, working with these organizations, we were able to transition all of our organic malts to be grown in Canada on the prairies and they certified their facility in Thunder Bay to process that malt for us. Around 15-20 Canadian farmers grow the grains that are used in our organic beers.”

Being one of the largest breweries in Canada, the importance of having educated professionals working as a team to implement set targets to work towards is a great way to continuously improve and reduce their emissions. Kaitlin mentions exceeding some of the targets they set for 2019. 

“For 2019, we had targets set a for 10% energy and water reduction and a 4% increase in waste divergence. We exceeded all of those targets. Working with our various operations and maintenance teams, engineers, the city and the companies that pick up our waste. We have had a 12.5% reduction in energy usage, a 17% decrease in water consumption, and a 12.5% increase in divergence of waste. It is something that we are always looking at both in our production facility and our brewpubs.”

Mill Street has one Brewpub location in Calgary managed by Head Brewer, Bennie Dingemanse. Located on 17th Avenue SW, serving Mill Street house-brewed products and great food in the most vibrant part of the city. The green initiatives continue to be a key driver for the Brewpub team, Bennie offers his thoughts on working towards a cleaner future in his Calgary location. 

“We divert our waste stream from our restaurant with our waste collection service providers. After collecting data from just our first quarter, we saved 2.2 barrels of oil, we saved about 14 trees, close to 4,000Kw/h of energy and 22,000 liters of water just by diverting our waste and having it properly disposed of. Another thing we do on the Brewpub level is looking at new methods when cleaning our tanks, where we analyze our water usage and work towards minimizing our wastewater while achieving the same result.”

Not only that, but Bennie and his team have proactively found ways to have their waste material exported so that it can be repurposed for commercial use by local merchants. One example is a partnership with coRISE, who actively utilize spent grain from the Calgary Brewpub for baked goods to sell in the local community. Bennie and his team have also been extracting sugar from spent material, combining it with food waste from the restaurant to be turned into compost.

As we continue to navigate this mid-to-post pandemic; breweries, restaurants and bars alike have adopted eCommerce to serve their customers. Mill Street has a variety of options to continue offering its house-brewed products and menu. Delivery is available on UberEats, SkipTheDishes, Doordash and from their Calgary website. As an added benefit, Bennie mentions that they recently updated their delivery radius to service areas outside of the downtown core.

Visiting The Mill Street Calgary Brewpub

To stay updated, Bennie recommends following his location on social media for any future updates on guidelines or new product releases. On the Brewpub level, following all Alberta Health Services recommendations in regards to capacity and sanitization. They have implemented new cleaning policies, hand sanitizer as you enter and staff are washing their hands regularly. Recently partnering with a local startup called LivCity that has developed an app for contactless ordering from your table using your smartphone, mitigating interactions between customers and staff in the efforts of social distancing. 

If you would like to learn more about the forward-thinking initiatives being implemented by the Mill Street Brewery team, or to browse their wide array of products available, visit their main website here, Calgary Brewpub website or follow them on their social media accounts below.


Mill Street Brewery Facebook

Mill Street Brewery Twitter

Mill Street Calgary Brewpub Facebook



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What the latest Bank of Canada rate hike means for inflation, consumers

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By Tara Deschamps

The Bank of Canada hiked its key policy rate by half a percentage point to 4.25 per cent — the highest it’s been since January 2008 — on Wednesday in its final rate decision of a year that has been marked by stubbornly high inflation and rapidly increasing interest rates.

The bank, which has made a steady succession of large hikes over the course of the year, is widely believed to be nearing an end to the increases.

In announcing the rate hike Wednesday, the bank said it will consider whether the rate “needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target.”

Here’s a look at what the rate means, how analysts are interpreting it and what it could mean for consumers.

What is the key policy rate and what does it do?

The key policy rate, also known as the target for the overnight rate, is how much interest the Bank of Canada wants commercial banks to charge when lending each other money overnight to settle daily balances.

Knowing how much it costs to lend money, or deposit it with the central bank, helps set the interest rates charged on things like loans and mortgages.

Lowering the rate generally makes borrowing money more affordable, while raising it makes such activities more expensive.

Why is the bank using the rate to target inflation?

Inflation is a measure of how much prices of goods and services are rising or falling. High inflation is a sign of an economy that’s overheating.

Canada’s annual inflation rate reached a peak of 8.1 per cent in June, the highest level in four decades.

It has eased since then, reaching 6.9 per cent in September, but didn’t budge in October. And shoppers have seen higher prices for common expenses like groceries. Grocery prices have been rising at the fastest pace in decades and were 11 per cent higher in October than they were a year ago.

Economists and the central bank want to see a further easing, which is why interest rates have been rising so quickly in the hope of cooling consumer spending patterns.

“Inflation is still too high and short-term inflation expectations remain elevated,” the bank said in its announcement. “The longer that consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the target, the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.”

What does this mean for my mortgage?

Mortgage rates tend to increase or decrease in tandem with interest rates.

When Canadians buy homes there are two kinds of mortgages they can select — fixed rate or variable. Fixed-rate mortgages allow borrowers to lock in the interest rate they will pay for a set amount of time, while variable-rate mortgages can fluctuate.

Allison Van Rooijen, vice-president of consumer credit at Meridian Credit Unit, estimates the rate hike Wednesday will bump payments on a $450,000 variable-rate mortgage on a 25-year amortization up another $130 or so every month. Since the beginning of 2022, rising rates have amounted to roughly $1,000 more per month since the beginning of 2022.

“Because of the high cost of housing in Canada and years of low borrowing rates, Canadians are carrying record-levels of debt on mortgages and lines of credit, so it’s really important that people go through their expenses and look to scale back discretionary spending where they can,” she said in an email.

She recommends people double down on efforts to pay off debt with higher interest rates as much as possible and if they are running into trouble making payments, discuss whether switching to another format of mortgage is right for them.

Does this mean interest rates will stop rising soon?

Shortly after the announcement, many economists predicted the bank isn’t done with hikes yet, even though the language in the statement signalled the possibility of holding steady at 4.25 per cent.

BMO Capital Markets chief economist Douglas Porter said a further hike of about 25 basis points is likely still to come because he’s concerned about the “stickiness of underlying inflation.”

James Orlando of TD Economics agreed. He expects the bank will deliver its final rate hike for the foreseeable future in January, bringing the measure to 4.5 per cent.

“We don’t think the Bank of Canada is done yet, but it is quickly approaching the end of its hiking cycle,” he wrote in a note to investors.

“As all Canadians know, the rapid rate hikes over 2022 have caused a dramatic adjustment in the real estate market, and we are starting to see this in consumer spending data. We expect this to continue to weigh on the economy over 2023 as the lagged effects of past hikes filter through.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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Experts raise concerns as Nigeria limits cash withdrawals

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By Chinedu Asadu in Abuja

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Experts on Wednesday raised concerns over a new policy announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria that heavily limits withdrawals of money in a push for a cashless economy.

The monetary policy, which applies to ATMs, banks and cash back from purchases, follows the launch of the West African nation’s newly designed currency notes to control the money supply.

The central bank limited weekly over-the-counter cash withdrawals to 100,000 naira ($225) for individuals and 500,000 naira ($1,124) for corporations, with a processing fee required to access more.

When the policy takes effect in Jan. 9, ATMs will no longer dispense Nigeria’s high denominations of 1,000 naira ($2.25) and 500 naira ($1.10) while withdrawals from ATMs and point-of-sale terminals also will be limited to 20,000 naira ($45) daily.

“In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits are required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed 5,000,000 naira ($11,236) and 10,000,000 naira ($22,471) for individuals and corporations, respectively,” said Haruna Mustafa, the bank’s director of banking supervision.

Policymakers say the withdrawal limits and recent monetary initiatives from the central bank would bring more people into the banking system and curb currency hoarding, illicit flows and inflation.

But analysts worry that with digital payments often unreliable in Nigeria, the initiative could hurt daily transactions that people and businesses make.

“The policy is intended to cause discomfort, to move you from cash to cashless because they (the central bank) have said they want to make it uncomfortable and expensive for you to hold cash,” economic analyst Kalu Aja said.

“That is a positive for the CBN (because) the more discomforting they are able to achieve, the more people can move,” Aja said.

In Nigeria, the majority of people work in the informal sector — mainly activities outside of the legal framework and government regulation such as farming, street and market trade, and public transport. The economy is heavily dependent on this sector, and cash is usually preferred for transactions because many lack bank accounts.

Only 45% of adults in Nigeria have accounts with regulated financial institutions, according to the World Bank. In the absence of bank accounts, point-of-sale terminals have emerged as one of the fastest-growing areas of financial inclusion in the country.

Through the withdrawal limits, the central bank is “directly attacking” such agency banking services and “people will essentially begin to hoard their money,” said Tunde Ajileye, a partner at Lagos–based SBM Intelligence firm.

“It is not going to drive people to start to try doing electronic transactions. On the contrary, it is going to move people away from the financial institutions,” he said.

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