Vermont Business Magazine The countdown is on to Burlington Brewfest, and Mill River Brewing BBQ & Smokehouse (MRB) in St Albans is celebrating with a new beer and label that ties directly to a long-term Clean Water Campaign with the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain.
The media and the public are invited to MRB’s 10 Beauregard Dr. location in St. Albans — just off Lake Road — at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, to learn more about MRB’s new partnership with the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC). During the event, MRB and the FNLC will launch “Lake Dayz,” a pale ale that was brewed and labeled especially for MRB’s new Clean Water Campaign. Samples of Lake Dayz will be on-hand at the 7/11 campaign kick-off, which will coincide with a cheese-pairing from Boston Post Dairy during the dinner hours.
“Beer is 90 percent water, so it makes sense that Vermont beer-lovers and lovers of Vermont beer would advocate for clean water — an issue that’s near and dear to this state, to my family, and to all of us at Mill River Brewing,” said David Fitzgerald, MRB co-owner. Fitzgerald and his siblings grew up recreating on the shores of Mill River Falls in Georgia, Vt. He and his wife, Joyce, MRB general manager, still live near Mill River. So it was no mistake that Mill River became part of the business’ namesake when it opened in July 2017.
“We just celebrated our second anniversary at Mill River Brewing, and water quality is an important part of making beer, so this campaign is a natural way for us to focus on our desire to give back,” David Fitzgerald said. “To us, producing Lake Dayz was beneficial on a couple of fronts — our pleasure of being around water and supporting the FNLC, our partner in this campaign. This is about more than just a one-time sponsorship. This is about a long-term partnership.”
MRB is about a mile from. St. Albans Bay — just a left turn off Beauregard Drive and straight down Lake Road. With Lake Champlain so close, MRB uses several tactics to conserve water, and MRB goes beyond how other Vermont breweries address water quality. For example, MRB reuses much of its water through its can-rinsing system, and it reuses treated water through its Clean-In-Place (CIP) tank system. MRB is also designing a system to capture rain water from rain gutters and reuse it on the hops row and vegetable gardens that are at the restaurant.
To initiate its partnership with the FNLC, MRB is hosting a rain barrel auction on Thursday, Sept. 5. Artists in northwestern Vermont will be invited to paint 20 rain barrels, which will be auctioned off at MRB during the 9/5 event. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the FNLC.
The FNLC and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Green Dairy and Green Brewery Cohorts, overseen by Celia Riechel, have expressed enthusiasm about MRB’s Clean Water Campaign. MRB and the FNLC are excited about what lies ahead.
“This sure looks like a nice opportunity to work together,” said Dr. Kent Henderson, chair of the FNLC’s board of directors. “We look forward to working more with Mill River Brewing and seeing where this new partnership takes us.”
MRB opened in July 2017 with less than a handful of in-house brews on tap. Today, MRB offers 10 in-house brews and distributes four beers to dozens of stores from Hinesburg to North Hero. (These are all of the stores that carry MRB beer: www.millriverbrewing.com/brewgps.) MRB is also a full-service restaurant that features local food. MRB grows its own veggies and herbs at its Beauregard Drive location, just off Lake Road.