By Jen Wolfe & Melissa Turley
The craft beer movement has accrued a diehard following, recently creating a community of beer lovers and aficionados. In the last two decades microbreweries have been popping up across the country, serving home-brewed ales and lagers to thirsty followers.
The New Belgium Brewing company has been at the forefront of “greening” the beer industry.
In the late 1990s, a group of employees got together and advocated for greater emphasis onsustainability. Over the next year they worked with other employees and experts to create the first Sustainability Management System – a document describing the current environmental impact, goals for improving in the future and a plan to get the wheels turning. Check out the report: New Belgium Going Green
New Belgium has made green a business priority – even hiring a sustainability director and specialist. Some initiatives they have developed include -
- A group of employees who develop meetings and trainings on topics from composting to biking for everyone at the award-winning workplace to get involved in.
- Installed an on-site treatment plant to turn wastewater into methane gas which is then used to power and heat the brewery. It can produce up to 15% of the company’s energy needs.
- Incorporated solar panels on top of their packaging hall.
- New Belgium also became the country’s first brewery to purchase 100% of its electricity from wind power in 1999.
- Developed the Brown Bottle Recycling Program in 2003 with participating bars and restaurants to recycle exclusively amber glass – the glass they use to bottle their beer.
- They also give each employee a bike after their one-year anniversary with the brewery.