Sustainability stories

Thanks for taking the time to familiarize yourself with our heart-felt 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!

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  • WHAT IS WASTE, ANYWAY?

     If you were to put all the ants in the world in one pile and all the humans in the world in another pile, which pile would be bigger? The pile of ants- duh! And yet, surprisingly, our shovels aren’t colliding with any underground ant landfills and we don’t find ourselves stubbing our toes on tiny ant smokestacks. In nature, one creature’s waste is another’s food.     At New Belgium, we think that’s a smart and classy idea so we work hard to find a home for brewery byproducts. This means that we’ve been able to divert 99.9% of our ...

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  • 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 ...

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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 ...

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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.  ...

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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...

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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 ...

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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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  • Jeff's Tips for Net Zero Electricity Use

    New Belgium founder and brewer extraordinaire, Jeff Lebesch, has been working towards an electric net-zero home for several years. Recently, he presented his tips and findings to the world as part of his work with the Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society. The coolest part about Jeff’s findings is that they present real solutions that all of us can invest in, especially those who can’t necessarily put a large solar array on their homes. When considering having a home that’s “off the grid” (or even “on the grid” but uses net zero electricity over a year’s time), we tend to think ...

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  • The Carbon Footprint of a 6-Pack of Fat Tire Amber Ale

    At New Belgium, we're not only passionate about great beer, it's also important to us to try to be a role model of sustainable business practices. We're figuring out what that means as we go along. Conducting the Life Cycle Assessment is another chapter in the legacy of environmental stewardship begun by Kim and Jeff 17 years ago. It's a tool to improve not just the sustainability of our company, but of our industry, too. What is a Life Cycle Assessment? The accounting of material and energy flows during each stage of a productâs life and the assessment of associated ...

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  • Algae notes

    Many of you have heard the story of our partnering with Solix Biofuels to develop a new form of algae-based fuel. At this time, Solix's investors recommend that they has build their pilot system adjacent to a coal-burning power facility to maximize CO2 reclamation. This is their preferred model down the road, so it makes good sense to us. We wish them the best in their exciting endeavor. Grow little algae, grow!

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