You may know the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery by its Fat Tire amber ale, Skinny Dip beer, or Mothership Wit organic wheat beer, but take a look past the glass and what you see may be better than the beer itself.
New Belgium Brewery prides itself on clean energy, sustainability and being an eco-friendly business leader.
First, I would like to highlight New Belgium’s upcoming philanthropic bike festival, Tour de Fat, a touring festival that highlights biking, beer and music (the necessities, of course).
Another Popular initiative is the’ Trade Your Car for a Bike Contest.’ The contest involves creating a video stating why you would like to sacrifice your car for a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike and trailer. To view the complete contest details, visit www.newbelgium.com/trade.
Sustainable highlights of the festival include a solar-powered stage, beer served in compostable cups and an overall waste stream diversion rate greater than 85%. See when the Tour de Fat comes to a city near you!
New Belgium incorporates sustainability into their product development; here are a few ways in which they do so:
Brewing process efficiency
The New Belgium brew kettle, Steinecker’s Merlin, was the second of its kind installed in the U.S. and is more efficient than standard brew kettles.
Green Building Design
• Lighting: New Belgium takes full advantage of the more than 360 days of sunshine in Fort Collins by using UV blocking windows, sun-tubes, and light shelves.
• HVAC: Using evaporative coolers, New Belgium can condition their 55,000 square foot packaging hall with no compressors, using much less energy.
• Materials: In New Beligum’s new packaging hall, the interior wood is beetle kill pine. Summit County, CO, anticipates that mountain pine beetles will kill 98% of their lodgepole pines. So, New Belgium is giving these fallen trees another life.
Wastewater Treatment Process
The Clean Water Act of 1973 required businesses to clean their water to domestic treatment standards before discharging, but New Belgium goes above and beyond to reduce the load on their municipal plant. And they get two valuable by-products from this treatment—methane and nutrient-rich sludge.
On-site energy production
The methane produced by process water treatment is used to fuel a co-gen, a combined heat and power engine, which creates electricity and heat for the brewery. The co-gen allows New Belgium to offset critical peak loads by creating electricity on-site from a renewable source—the process wastewater. When the co-gen is running full-time, it can supply 15% of our electrical needs.
Wind-powered electricity since 1999
In 1999, New Belgium became the largest private consumer of wind-power electricity at that time and the first wind-powered brewery.
Sustainable organization culture
An environment in which the full power of everyone’s hearts and minds are brought to bear on creating positive change. HIC is a 3-legged stool which stands on opening the books, employee ownership, and participative decision-making.
• New Belgium is a member of 1% For the Planet, which means that, through donations and fund-raisers, 1% of their revenue goes to environmental non-profits.
• Team Wonderbike, the New Belgium bicycle commuter advocacy program, has more than 10,000 members who have pledged to offset more than eight million car miles by riding their bikes more over the next twelve months.
• New Belgium also uses a values-driven, business role model mentality through public speaking and education. To encourage sustainable transportation, they give every employee a custom cruiser bike after one-year of employment.
New Belgium measures and meets their environmental goals. Their current goals are:
• Reduce carbon footprint by 25%.
• Reduce water usage by 10%.
• Increase landfill diversion rate from 89.5% to 95% (note: brewing by-products like spent grain and yeast are notincluded in these figures. If they were included, it would be 99%).
Partnering to support innovative technology
The company Oberon installed a small treatment plant next to the New Belgium plant that will use process wastewater to harvest sludge to create a high protein fish food for aqua-farms. If successful, they will learn how to turn a waste stream into an income stream and a source of global nutrition.
And this isn’t the end of New Belgium’s environmentally friendly efforts. You can view their whole in-depth coverage on their sustainability here.
Oh, and after all that talk about beer I couldn’t leave you hanging. Here’s a New Belgium Skinny Dip: