New Belgium – Sustainable Beer

New Belgium Brewery, maker of Fat Tire Ale, goes to impressive lengths to make its production sustainable.

Founded by an electrical engineer and a social worker, its employees voted in 1998 to finance a conversion to wind power. New Belgium conserves water, signed on to the 2002 LEED-Existing Buildings pilot program, and recycles much of its materials used. Even spent grain becomes cattle feed. New Belgium comissioned an artist to create its facility stools out of old bike parts, and uses old bottlecaps to build tables. Last but not least, New Belgium has hired a sustainability specialist – keeping people like me in business.

Find out more at the New Belgium website.

Makes ya proud to be from Fort Collins!


1 Comment »

  1. Shelby said

    Don’t forget that New Belgium has its own wastewater treatment facility, from which it captures methane to power much of the brewery. They also use some really clever heat-transfer methods to cut their energy use in the brewing process.

    Also don’t forget the Tour de Fat.

    Last time I took the brewery tour, I asked my tour guide why they are still using bottles rather than cans, which are much easier to produce and recycle. He told me that they’ve been making environmental upgrades whenever possible, but are always trying to do the thing that will have the next biggest impact, and so far that hasn’t been switching to cans. And beyond that, they think it tastes better out of a bottle, and are still trying to sell beer to consumers who associate microbrews with glass bottles (which is not always the case! Oskar Blues Brewery has an amazing 8% alcohol Scottish Ale in cans.) If you live in Fort Collins, you can just avoid this whole issue by getting your beer in refillable growlers straight from the tasting room (and get 4 free tasters while you’re there!). You can be extra green about it and ride the bus there, conveniently avoiding the beer+car issue as well.

    Anyways, they’re not perfect yet, but they’re damn closer than anyone else I know of, and it really does make it hard to choose less sustainable beers (especially when Mothership Wit is so amazingly delicious).

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