How green is your beer? No, I am not talking about the dyed swill forced upon the masses on St. Patrick's Day, nor am I referring to the several "lime" varieties of the light American lagers that shall remain nameless. I am talking about sustainability. The eco-friendly and environmentally conscious brewers. Does your beer stack up?
The brewing process is energy intensive. From the amount of water used to the spent grains, the heating of brew kettles and the chilling of wort, even the smallest craft brewery uses a great deal of resources, both in material and in energy. Craft brewers have a tendency to be ahead of the curve in a lot of ways, from collaborative efforts with other breweries to forming partnerships with other local businesses. An excellent example of this is how many of them are working to becoming "greener" breweries. So what are these independent business people doing to reduce their impact on the planet, and why? From coast to coast, craft brewers are making changes both big and small to "go green".
One of the most visible and vocal in their efforts is New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. Few companies — let alone breweries — take their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility more seriously than New Belgium. To many, they are the gold standard of what can and should be done. Opening for business in 1991, their fundamental core beliefs included "kindling social, environmental and cultural change as a business role model" and "environmental stewardship: honoring nature at every turn of the business." This dedication to the environment, as well as a desire to make great beer, continues today. An entire book could be written about New Belgium and what they have done, but just a few of their green practices are: