1) New Belgium
New Belgium Brewing Company is a craft beer brewing company that is based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. New Belgium went commercial in 1991 and has experienced widespread popularity among consumers in the craft beer industry for their delicious products and focus on sustainability. In 2013, New Belgium became a Certified B Corporation which means that to maintain this certification they must demonstrate a focus on employees, the community, and the environment year after year. Recognizing the environment as a stakeholder group really influences every decision New Belgium makes. The company recently transitioned into being 100% employee owned, which further shows how profits are secondary to this shining example of a sustainable brewing company.
Aside from their facilities being 70% wind-powered, New Belgium “cleans and re-filters the water during the cooling process of brewing, and then gives the water back to the city for residential use”.
Tour de Fat, born in New Belgium’s hometown of Fort Collins, CO, is a costumed bike ride put on in communities to raise money for bicycle and environmental charities. The Tour de Fat is not only a great way to give back to charity, but it also promotes exercise, sustainable transportation, and community bonding. New Belgium is not trying to greenwash their business practices in any way. It is actually who they are and what they were founded on. This is demonstrated time and time again in their business practices and their responsible marketing. Supporting drinking and driving and underage consumption reduction initiatives is something New Belgium feels is their responsibility to do and does so in fun yet effective ways, such as the Tour de Fat.
2) Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is based out of Chico, California and provides a variety of craft brews for every taste and fancy. It is the ranked 2nd among craft breweries in the United States in terms of beer sales volume and 7th overall among all beer companies. Sierra Nevada continues to display “environmental leadership” within the brewing industry and was recognized as the EPA Green Business of the Year in 2010.
While Sierra Nevada Brewing is a substantial player in the beer industry nationwide, it still maintains a strong passion for environmental stewardship. The California based craft brewery utilizes over 10,000 on-site solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells to power its facilities making it “one of the country’s largest privately-owned photovoltaic systems”. With these upgrades, Sierra Nevada is leading the industry in clean energy technology. Their commitment to using only the purest ingredients and being transparent with the entire value chain are factors that differentiate Sierra Nevada further.
3) Odell Brewing Co
Odell Brewing Company is a craft brewer headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. Most famous for its 90 Schilling and Easy Street brands, Odell is constantly experimenting with new flavors and varieties.
Odell Brewing takes sustainability to a new level with its state of the art brewing facility, powered by 100% renewable sources. They also have systems that capture the steam released in the boil process to heat the next brew. The vacuum pumps that Odell installed in 2012 allows the same water to be reused three different times throughout multiple brews and saved the company from using 25 million gallons of
water that year alone. More impressive still is how Odell has incorporated porous pavements in its parking lots and sidewalks to collect rain and snowfall into the groundwater used in many of its processes.
4) Aspen Brewing Co
Aspen Brewing Company is another Colorado based craft brewery and is actually the town of Aspen’s only microbrewery. Aspen Brewing was founded in 2008 by University of Colorado at Boulder graduate, Duncan Clauss. Their products range from IPAs to Red Ales, ranging from seasonal varieties only found on-tap and year-round favorites to be enjoyed in cans.
The brewers and employees at Aspen Brewing hold the natural environment in which they live and work in high regard and work to maintain this natural beauty for generations to come. Aspen Brewing Company was one of three breweries to sign onto the Clean Water Act created by the EPA and Environment Colorado (Odell and New Belgium are the other two). They strive to uphold the regulations and expectations of the Clean Water Act by incorporating water recycling technologies to drastically reduce their water use in the brewing process. Additionally, the six-pack holders and cans themselves are produced from 96% post consumer recycled plastic.
5) Coors Brewing Company
MillerCoors is one of the largest beer producers in the world and the Coors Brewing Company is one of its regional divisions based out of Golden, Colorado. The Coors brewery in Golden is the largest single site brewery in the world. Coors, known as the banquet beer to some, has been around since 1873 and has always been brewed using crisp clean water straight from the Rocky Mountains.
Although Coors is a bigger producer and distributor than the other craft and microbreweries on this list, Coors strives to reduce their environmental impact all the same. Coors was a leader in the implementation of 100% recyclable aluminum cans in 1957, when all other beers were sold in bottles. As was mentioned before, it takes around four gallons of water to produce one gallon of beer. Over the past eight years, Coors has worked vehemently to cut their water usage and have reduced their water-to-beer ratio to 3.36 to 1. This reduction makes a big difference when you are brewing and selling the number of beers that Coors does every year. Coors continues to set goals for reducing water and energy usage further.
Guinness Breweries has grown from a small Dublin brewery of the 1700’s to giant corporation that is managed in holding by DIageo, a large beverage distribution company. Diageo has managed several high end beverage brands and helped streamline distribution around the world. In theses efforts Diageo has found the need to instill values to run their organization by, These values include: passion towards customers and consumers, the freedom to succeed, to treat others in a caring manner, be proud of what you do and be the best at what you do. These values have been displayed in their efforts to give back and run a sustainable company .
Guinness via DIageo has created hundreds of programs to give back to the community. These plans and programs include: community education about alcohol use, environmental sustainable, sustainable supply chains, corporate governance, community empowerment and employee empowerment programs . These are only the main categories of Diageos actions but their commitment to a more sustainable and responsible business seems strong and widespread. These programs are all encapsulated in their Sustainability and Responsibility Strategy.
7) Great Lakes Brewery
The Great Lakes Brewery started from humble begins 1986 from a rundown city neighborhood in Cleveland Ohio. Since then the company has held true to their values and surrounded themselves with a corporate culture that promotes responsibility and sustainability. With it’s large selection of bottled and draught beers Great Lakes Brewery has grown from a humble brewery to a reputable and exemplar community member.
Great Lakes Brewing has an extensive series of initiatives aimed towards improving the company and community around them. Each year Great Lakes Brewing discloses a sustainability report containing the efforts for the year towards a more sustainable business. Among the extensive programs Great Lakes Brewing has started a Zero Waste Initiative” aimed at making use of the by-products generated from the brewing process. Not only have they looked to make an environmental impact but Great Lakes Brewing has worked on creating a responsible supply chain for the sourcing and production of their products. Some other efforts include: charitable giving (1% of all sales), water stewardship, local farming and the River Fest Charity Foundation.
8) Alaskan Brewing Company
Alaskan Brewing Company started from humble beginnings in the last frontier, Alaska. Since their inception the company has grown from a small local brewery to a beer now distributed in 17 states. Even from the beginning Alaskan Brewing Company has shown efforts of sustainability.
Alaskan Brewing Company was the first craft brewery in the United States to install and operate a car
bon dioxide reclamation system that captures and cleans CO2 and uses it to package the beer, and to purge oxygen from holding tanks. The Coastal CODE program donates 1% of all proceeds from the Alaskan Icy Bay IPA to a project aimed towards protecting the health of the Ocean.
9) Stone Brewing Company
Stone Brewing Company started in San Marcos, CA and quickly gained popularity being listed on Ink! Magazine’s as Top 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies for eleven years. Such popularity caused the brewery to expand to their current location that includes a farm, garden and brewery in Escondido, CA. Stone Brewing Company also plans to expand and become the first american brewery to operate their own brewery in Europe. Despite their growing needs it seems that they have also planned for measures of sustainability.
Stone Brewing Company has many efforts towards becoming a more sustainable business such as their bio-diesel delivery trucks and water reclamation system. The Escondido plant also has “rooftop solar panels on the Escondido brewery produce about 20% of the power for the brewery and our restaurant, preventing approximately 1.5 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually”. Their efforts towards sustainability seem limited when compared to extensive growth of the company.
10) Aslan Brewing Company
Aslan Brewing Company is a very new brewery/restaurant that aims to create a sustainable way of bringing beer to their consumers. By keeping the brewing distribution local the company aims to maintain a high quality to their organic brew selection.
Aslan is utilizing its small distribution to their advantage. By sourcing and distributing in a small area the company is able to keep their quality high but risks limiting their growth. Aslan states that their “Microbrewery only distributes in the western part of Washington state and has no plans to distribute its USDA-certified organic craft beers beyond the Pacific Northwest.”.