While at the beach this weekend, I was drinking a can of Fat Tire beer that had a couple of sayings that caught my eye. The first was Wind Powered and Employee Owned. New Belgium, the maker of Fat Tire, sounds like my kind of company. Who knew beer could be so sustainable?
The next saying on the can I noticed was Pack it In, Pack it Out. I said it out loud and then asked, “wonder what that means?” My beachmate said, “You don’t know what that is? That means anything you take with you – hiking, camping, etc, you should take back out with you.” I knew I loved this beer but then I became really intrigued by the company.
New Belgium Brewery, based in Ft. Collins, CO, states on its website that they are alternatively powered. They have been wind powered since 1999; they have a process for treating wastewater to get two byproducts – methane and nutrient-rich sludge. They use that methane to power an onsite heat and power engine to create electricity and heat for the brewery.
They even made their brewery process more efficient by using a brew kettle that heats thin sheets of wort (key beer ingredient) rather than the whole kettle at once. They soon plan to reduce their water usage by 10 percent – hmm, couldn’t they use that to make more beer?
The best part is the culture New Belgium has created among its fans. With its main beer named Fat Tire, you can only guess that many carbon conscious cyclists are big fans. Each year, the company hosts Tour de Fat in various cities celebrating bicycling as a viable form of alternative transportation. They power the stage with solar power and serve beer in compostable cups. Plus, one attendee who donates his/her car gets a New Belgium cruiser.
It just goes to show simple choices, even beer, can lead to a more sustainable way of life.