Colorado Brewing Highlight: Aspen Brewing Company

Aspen Brewing Company, nestlaspen-logoed in the snowy Roaring Fork Valley, opened in March of 2008. The brewpub has become a favorite nightspot of tourists and locals alike. Founder Duncan Clauss brought back craft beer to Aspen after Flying Dog Brewing Company relocated to Denver. With strong ties to the mountain lifestyle Aspen Brewing Company believes in supporting the community that supports it. The company is dedicated to learning more about the customer through community events, fundraisers and community gatherings.

“Aspen Brewing Company believes full-heartedly in supporting the community that supports us. As we immerse ourselves in more community events, fundraisers and gatherings we are able to learn more about you, the
craft beer drinker and outdoor enthusiast that we aim to fill with joy everyday.” 

Philanthropy and Community:

While Aspen Brewing Company has its eyes on expanding success they still believe their local roots are the most important community to serve. They support almost fifty non-profits including: Challenge Aspen, The Wildwood School, Green Corps, Aspen ECO Fest, and Pitkin County Public Library. Their dedication stems from the belief that a grassroots community is the backbone of the brewing company, they often say “think globally and act locally.”

Environmental Commitment:

1) Water Recycling:

Their brewing system uses cold water in a plate chiller to cool the beer before fermentation. They cool the “hot wort,” beer before fermentation, to 70 degrees while heating the cold water to 170 degrees. The brewers keep the hot water stored in an insulated tank until the next round of beer is brewed.

2) Bottle Recycling:

Aspen Brewing Company encourages customer to purchase growlers, 32 or 64-ounce glass jugs, and bring them back for a refill at a discount price. A 64-ounce
growler is the same volume as a six-pack, but using a growler reduces the use of materials as well as reduces waste produced.

3) Cans:

Cans are not only better for beer, but also are better for the environment compared to glass bottles. Using cans results in less energy usage in production, shipping, and recycling. They also use holders made from ninety-six percent post consumer recycled plastic that can be more easily reused and recycled.

4) Used Grain:

Working with local family farms and Rock Bottom Ranch the brewing company gives farms used malted barley so that it can be used in compost, as well as cattle, chicken and pig feed. Rock Bottom Ranch is a local teaching farm and subsidiary of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Aspen Brewing Company was also one of forty-one Colorado businesses that issued a letter to urge Governor Hickenlooper to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Not only has Aspen Brewing Company taken steps to limiting their own carbon footprint, but they have also taken political action to ensure a better planet for future generations.

While Aspen Brewing Company’s actions illustrate a sense of responsibility and accountability information about such actions is neither readily available nor promoted. It would be beneficial not only for Aspen Brewing Company to promote responsible business actions, but also for the brewing community. Their commitment to the environment and the community should serve as an example for other brewers to follow.

Despite Aspen’s haute and elite reputation the town has deeper roots. It was once a rough-and-tumble town with roots in mining. The success of Aspen Brewing Company lies in its connection to the less haute Aspen and a genuine appreciation of the snowy Aspen brewing flighttown. Pretension is left at the door when people grab a glass of one of their seasonal brews. It is their commitment to the community and environment that makes Aspen Brewing Company that is a model for success and a path other companies should follow.



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