If we are to struggle our way out of the environmental box canyon that we've worked ourselves into as a civilization, we need to transition all the cogs in the system to sustainable operations. This means producing electricity renewably (think wind, solar, geothermal), growing our foods organically, and building our homes with sustainably harvested materials. Also, we need to brew our beer without wasting a lot of water, energy, and materials. We can't forget about the beer.

In the world of environmentally-friendly craft brewers, the New Belgium Brewing Company has long reigned as king, but there's an upstart in the industry looking to join them at the top. Baxter Brewing, a small but fast-growing craft brewer located in Lewiston, Maine, has been selling a lot of beer since they opened their doors in 2010. Lead by founder and CEO Luke Livingston (named to Forbes' '30 Under 30 List), Baxter is in the middle of a million-dollar-plus expansion that will allow them to brew a lot more beer using a lot less water and energy.

Baxter has a detailed and comprehensive description of their environmental practices and policies on their website, but to get a better idea of how and why they so tightly integrate sustainability into their operations and expansions, check out this video produced about their efforts by NBC.

View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should point out that I am friends with John Rooks, the CEO of the SOAP Group, and have worked with SOAP in the past (I helped design EasternWhitePine.org).

Are you on TwitterFollow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets. And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page and visit my homepage.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Baxter Brewing: The story of how to build and grow a truly sustainable craft brewery
Watch how this small, but fast-growing, Maine brewery is rolling sustainability into their operational DNA.