Brewing beer to Protect Our Winters

Oct 21, 2015

Jeremy Jones knows snow. A veteran pro snowboarder, ten times voted Big Mountain Rider of the Year by Snowboarding magazine, star of more than twenty snowboarding films, Jeremy began noticing something very troubling a few years back. Places that had been ripe for shredding much of his twenty-year career were running out of the only thing a rider really needs: snow.  


The trend is unmistakable. An increasing number of ski resorts and ski/snowboarding areas have been closing early or even shutting down for a while mid-season due to a lack of snow. More and more mountains have had to rely on snowmaking to extend or merely salvage their season. And in some areas, temperatures have often been so unusually warm that even snowmaking is not an option. For those who aren't familiar with winter sports, Jeremy will tell you that bombing down a grassy or slushy slope with a board strapped to your feet just isn't all that much fun.


For a long time, people talked about climate change as if it were a thing that might happen someday, off in the distant future. But what Jeremy and many others have come to realize is that climate change is already here. That distant future is now.

Jeremy took a hard look at what he and his friends in the world of snow sports were doing to address this threat to the survival of the sports they loved. The answer: not enough. So in 2007, he founded Protect Our Winters (POW) to spur the snow sports community to action—to make a difference before it was too late.


Winter recreation activity in the U.S. contributes an estimated $67 billion to the economy every year, while providing more than 900,000 jobs, so the loss of snow cover isn't just a matter of fun and games. Many workers and their families depend on cold, snowy winters for their livelihood, and mountainous regions across the country bank on it to bring money and vitality to their communities.


POW is a group effort. Jeremy brought many partners on board from across the snow sports community and beyond: riders, resorts, outfitters, food producers, equipment makers, foundations, nonprofits, media outlets and more. President Obama even named him a Champion of Change for his efforts.

Ben & Jerry's and New Belgium Brewing Co. have been climate activists for many years. After all, ice cream is best served frozen, and nothing compares to an ice-cold beer. And like Jeremy, we know that we're stronger together than we are apart. That's why we've joined forces to create two new products: a beer, Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, and an ice-cream flavor, Salted Caramel Brownie Ale. A portion of the proceeds from sales of both will go to POW.


It'd be pretty awesome if you could eat, drink, or ride your way to a solution for the climate crisis. And while we always believe in having fun while supporting a good cause, the truth, of course, is a bit more complicated. Coordinated individual and group actions can make a difference, but more must be done.

Along with POW, we're asking everyone to contact their governor and urge him/her to support the historic Clean Power Plan, the EPA's first-ever limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Let's keep our mountains snow-capped and ready to ride.