New Belgium Brewery: Wind Powered & Employee Owned.


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Now this is a true example of what a sustainable business should (and can) be. The New Belgium Brewing company in Fort Collins, CO is powered by wind energy and is employee-owned, meaning the employees have a say in the decisions that the company makes. The company has even had a hand in building wind turbines for neighbors and friends in the area. Talk about commitment! In reading through their website and sustainability reports, I am amazed that they haven’t (maybe they have and I haven’t seen it?) become a model for companies everywhere who want to do their best to be good stewards for the environment. A few notable pieces of info about the brewery:

  • Using evaporative coolers, they can condition their 55,000 square foot packaging hall with no compressors, using much less energy.
  • The Clean Water Act of 1973 requires business to clean their water to domestic treatment standards before discharging, but we go above and beyond to reduce the load on our municipal plant. And we get two valuable by-products from this treatment: methane and nutrient-rich sludge.
  • The methane produced by process water treatment is used to fuel a combined heat and power engine, which creates electricity and heat for the brewery
  • To encourage sustainable transportation, every employee gets a custom cruiser bike after one-year of employment.
  • In our 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, we’re giving these fallen trees another life.

Amazing, right? Well, get this – their purpose statement is even more incredible:

  • To operate a profitable brewery which makes our love and talent manifest.
  • Company Core Values and Beliefs
  • Remembering that we are incredibly lucky to create something fine that enhances people’s lives while surpassing our consumers’ expectations.
  • Producing world-class beers.
  • Promoting beer culture and the responsible enjoyment of beer.
  • Kindling social, environmental and cultural change as a business role model.
  • Environmental stewardship: Honoring nature at every turn of the business.
  • Cultivating potential through learning, high involvement culture, and the pursuit of opportunities.
  • Balancing the myriad needs of the company, our coworkers and their families.
  • Trusting each other and committing to authentic relationships and communications.
  • Continuous, innovative quality and efficiency improvements.

They say that we can judge our intentions and concerns by where we spend our money, and if you drink beer, you probably should be buying from a company like this. No, they didn’t pay me to write this nor do they even know who I am – I came across an ad in a magazine and started doing some research. And what I found gave me hope that just because a company is successful doesn’t mean they have to trash the earth or not care about their employees. Like another company I buy products from, Patagonia, these guys have their priorities right in line with my own. Kudos, New Belgium. And since I will be residing in Denver in just a few weeks, I will definitely have to make a trip up to see the place!

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  1. Now if you could only get them to ship their product east of the Mississippi River for retail sales, I would gladly support them financially by buying copious amounts of New Belgium 1554.

  2. Wow, this story makes me want to start drinking beer…and I don’t even like it! Great to hear about a company that’s *truly* committed to the environment.

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