Sustainability stories

Thanks for taking the time to familiarize yourself with our approach to business here at New Belgium. On this page, you'll find some stories which illustrate who we are, and why we do what we do. Our commitment towards sustainability began on day one of New Belgium’s history when environmental stewardship made it into the first draft of the company’s Core Values and Beliefs, and carries through to today. Happy reading!

More for the conversation on cans and bottles.

As a craft brewer who fills both glass bottles and aluminum cans with delicious beers, we inevitably receive questions (and have our own) regarding the environmental impact of each container. A comprehensive, unbiased study comparing the total environmental impact of glass bottles to that of aluminum cans does not exist. So we see a lot of guessing going on out there and many of those guesses are being stated as though they were ultimate facts. Below are some questions we hear often along with answers based on the research we’ve done. Remember, though, that since a comprehensive study has never been conducted, we don’t really know which container is ultimately environmentally superior. ...
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Cans Versus Bottles Versus Kegs! The battle rages on...

With the release of Shift happening today, and 2012 being called the year of the craft beer can, it is important to talk about these beer package choices.  Between bottles and cans and kegs there isn't one package that is a clear winner over the others. They all have their ups, and they all have their downs. We want our consumers to be informed when the package choice is presented, so we made this handy-dandy decision map for your looking and considering, check it out. Now take this information and make use of it. And remember, be safe out there and make good turns. -JUICEBOX
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Who likes Hop Brownies?

Hop nerds like hop brownies, that’s who!  We also like hop fields, hop farmers and hoppy beers, of course.  So getting paid to spend a week visiting the hop farms in Oregon feels kind of like jumping over the rainbow with a leprechaun and finding glittered unicorns on the other side.  Is this really happening?  Or have I had one too many brownies??? For those of you who don’t know, the Pacific Northwest grows almost all U.S. hops because these 18-foot high perennial vines adore the long summer days found in higher latitudes.  Washington, Oregon and Idaho are hop mecca for you Americans.  But other states (like our beloved Colorado!) are valiantly working to build a hop industry and we’re d...
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The Times They Are a Changing (but let’s make that in a good way!)

“Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (FEC)” was a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court in 2010 that entitled corporations to spend unlimited funds in our elections.  Corporations can now spend billions of dollars to influence elections and policies, a sum of money well out of reach for you and me.  This makes the voice of citizen’s itty bitty in comparison to the gigantor corporation.  New Belgium thinks this is an important, game-changing topic and we want you to hear about it.  In fact, we want you and your friends and your friends’ friends to hear about it!  Why does this matter?  Well, most corporations don’t really care about fresh air (they don’t have lungs) or heal...
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Let's talk about the future (of craft beer).

Environmental stewardship is something that NBB holds close to the heart.  Honoring the earth at every turn is something that all citizens of the world (especially the corporate citizens) should be embracing.  In the craft beer industry as a whole there are huge steps being taken to lessen our collective impact on the earth and its resources, the process efficiencies at Full Sail, the organic material sourcing at Asher Brewing, the sustainable transport of those materials at Schlafly (to name just a couple).  The craft beer industry is trying to very hard to make the best beer possible with the best practices possible.  New Belgium's own Chief Sustainability Officer Jenn Orgolini just wro...
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Sourcing local ingredients at New Belgium

Have you ever wondered what your favorite companies are doing to support your favorite local communities?  It is a common question in this growing era of conscious consumerism.  Skye, a beer fan in Colorado, recently posted her question on Facebook in an effort to find out what New Belgium was doing to support our local community.  We thought you might be interested in this topic as well, so we are reposting it here on our blog.  Read on! Skye:  An interesting point was brought to my attention lately: New Belgium does not use any local ingredients. Being the "localest" of our local beers, I strongly urge New Belgium to at least look into buying locally grown grains for at least part of the...
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2008 Water Data

We're happy to report a reduction in our water use ratio during 2008.  Down to 3.8 barrels of water for every barrel of beer we make. So, if one barrel ends up in the beer, what happens to the other 2.8?  Well, approximately 2 are cleaned at our on-site process water treatment plant.  That water is then further cleaned by the City and returned to the Poudre River, our watershed, for downstream users.  The 0.8 is lost to evaporation and spent grain. Why the improvement in 2008?  Optimized cleaning regimes, fixed water usage spread over more barrels, and less irrigation, we think.  We don't actually have all of the uses inside the building submetered, so our strategy to date has been to de...
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Waste Not, Want Not

Here's what our overall waste picture looked like in 2008: But we don't like to include spent grain, which goes to a local cattle farmer, in our waste data because you lose granularity on everything else.  So, here's what the data looks like without it: This is information we can use.  In 2007, we set a waste stream diversion goal (not including spent grain) of 95%.  So, we're well on our way.  Last year, we reported a diversion rate of 73.3%.  Several reasons for the dramatic improvement: (1) a new sorting station in the kitchen, with a much more pleasant compost receptacle, as well as composting crocks throughout the offices; (2) a six-sigma glass project in packaging that reduced glas...
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2008 Sustainability NonReport

Since our 2007--first ever--sustainability report was published late last year, we have been torn between issuing another one just months later or going silent for over 18 months.  Neither good options!  So, we're going to share the 2008 content through the blog. First up, on the social sustainability front:  Have you seen how we spent $470,000 in philanthropy funds last year?  And, here are the local grant guidelines for 2009.  Our areas of focus are:  water stewardship, sensible transportation & bike advocacy, sustainable agriculture, and youth environmental education. Tomorrow, we'll dive into waste (and recycling and composting, of course).  Please let me know what you'd like to read...
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New Belgium's First-Ever Sustainability Report!

This is our first attempt at summing up all of the environmentally and socially responsible activities at New Belgium and making them available in 20 short pages. Read the report, we would love to hear your feedback & questions. Post a comment/question here and we'll give you a good 'ol response. New Belgium 2007 Sustainability Report
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