Water’s kind of a big deal to brewers. Sure, so are hops and grains, but since water makes up about 95% of beer, it’s safe to say that clean water is the base for great beer. But our passion for clean water extends beyond the kettle: We like to dip our toes in a clean stream during a spring hike, go skinny dipping in lakes during the summer, and visit our favorite ice-fishing spots in the winter…while enjoying a beer, of course. Yep, we’re pretty serious about keeping our waterways clean.
Here at New Belgium, our sustainability department’s always on the lookout for new ways we can lend a hand. We’re connecting with the Wetlands Initiative, an organization that’s dedicated to protecting “the Earth’s kidneys.” We’ve also increased our consumption of salmon-safe hops to 10-percent of our total hop usage (who even knew salmon-safe hops were a thing?). But, if there’s one water-centric organization that’s been near-and-dear to our hearts the longest, it’s the Waterkeeper Alliance.
Our relationship with the Waterkeeper Alliance dates back to 2009. We were initially drawn to the alliance for two reasons: it’s dedication to water protection, and its grassroots approach.
“Waterkeeper Alliance is an umbrella organization for local chapters,” says Katie Wallace, New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability. “Every community and watershed faces a different issue, and Waterkeeper empowers people to address those problems. It’s community-based and that’s pretty cool.”
In 2009, New Belgium teamed up with a coalition of organizations, including the Waterkeeper Alliance, for the Save the Colorado campaign, and also gave a $40,000 grant to the Alliance’s Poudre Waterkeeper chapter in an effort to help prevent Colorado’s Glade Reservoir from diverting water from the Cache la Poudre River, a source for the brewery’s water. Since then, our relationship has continued, most recently culminating in roughly $75,000 in awarded grant money for local Waterkeeper initiatives across the country.
This year, we’re keeping that spirit alive with the re-release of our summer seasonal Skinny Dip, due out April 13. For the release, we’ve joined forces with Waterkeeper's Swimmable Waters campaign across our social media platforms, encouraging fans to upload photos with #WaterkeeperDip to help raise awareness for clean water defense. We’ll feature our favorite photos on our accounts, and donate $1 to the Waterkeeper Alliance per tagged photo, up to $10,000.
So, start your summer off right by shedding some clothes and taking the plunge with a Skinny Dip. To learn more about our eco-friendly initiatives, swing by the sustainability section on our website.