At the heart of Big Grove is the goal of fostering community, architectural revitalization, and being environmentally responsible while doing it.
Dave Moore oversees all new building projects for Big Grove Brewery. Moore has maintained an eye toward sustainability within each building design, including green-building features, high-efficiency equipment installation, recycling, and kitchen composting systems.
Beginning in Iowa City, Moore led the development to reach Platinum Green Status, a point-based system awarded by the Iowa Waste Reduction Center. The 28,000-square-foot Brewery & Taproom served as an anchor for the Iowa City Riverfront Crossings redevelopment project. Permeable pavers installed on the patio capture rainfall onsite to help reduce the amount of water treatment needed.
In 2022, with grant funding help from the City of Iowa City, a carbon recapture system was installed under Moore’s leadership, called “CiCi.” The CiCi closed-loop unit helps recapture Co2 from brewing and reuses it downstream for draft lines and beer packaging.
According to Moore, “We’re thankful to our customers who support us and partners who share in the vision to help lead projects to completion. We’re taking steps to benchmark our brewery and business processes to be sustainable long-term; we want our kids and grandkids to work here too.”
In 2022, Big Grove opened a third location, after Solon and Iowa City, now reaching westward to Des Moines, Iowa. “We always seemed to return to the Crescent building,” noted Moore. “It felt right. … We love the idea of rebuilding neighborhoods.”
The renovation of the formerly vacant Crescent building in Des Moines was done in an eco-responsible manner. Examples of this included installing bioswales, giving environmental co-benefits due to their ability to reduce stormwater runoff, purchasing energy-efficient equipment, and introducing natural skylights to help to save on electricity needed to light the buildings.
Total Oil Management systems have been installed in Iowa City and Des Moines kitchens to automate bulk cooking oil to filter and recycle. This saves on packaging waste and maximizes the cooking oil's life by detecting the oil's cleanliness to ensure nothing is thrown away too early.
The company works with over 40 local food producers in Iowa, sourcing locally when possible, including eggs and dairy. A herb garden adorns an exterior wall in the Solon, Iowa location as a way to remember sourcing can be local, even in the backyard. Some seasonal vegetables and meats are also sourced locally, including purchasing two bison from Whiterock Conservancy in 2023.
The brewery’s give-back initiative saw over $8,000 donated back to the Coon Rapids-based conservancy, $2 from every Bison Burgers was donated back, plus a portion of proceeds from a ticketed six-course Foraged dinner. The ‘Big Grove For Good’ program has seen thousands of dollars donated directly to communities for environmental and social justice causes, including a non-profit grant program of $73,000 to seven local non-profits.
Staff have planted trees over the years to green up the properties, and this fall, Good Grove Fruited Ale will commemorate the Big Grove pledge to plant 400 trees in four years. The trees will be planted in the communities where we live, work, and play. Community support helps Big Grove continue its mission to revive our environment for future generations.