We are now officially drinking the first ever certified carbon neutral beer courtesy of none other than New Belgium Brewing Company. New Belgium, arguably the most influential craft brewery to produce beer in the United States, has recently released a campaign to even further highlight their sustainability initiatives. Although it isn’t possible for every US craft brewery to achieve a similar level of sustainability, this campaign is important for other breweries as well as the consumer.
The importance of Fat Tire is not centered around the beer itself, but rather the climate issues that it’s addressing. Issues that we all experience and that we all contribute to. It is well known that the human contribution of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a key factor of why we are seeing effects such as increasing fluctuation in temperatures, increasing severe weather events, and sea-level rise. So how do we combat these issues? Simple, we stop the source of greenhouse gas emissions! Except it isn’t that simple. Large companies who are among the largest greenhouse gas emitters have the opportunity to make larger more meaningful contributions to minimizing how much carbon they emit.
New Belgium is a brewery who, as of 2016 was producing more than 950,000 Bbls or 29.4 million gallons of beer a year. The brewery recognized that this level of production can mean a large amount of carbon emissions. One likely symptom of climate change that could affect breweries is crop distribution due to severe weather events and climate. Ultimately, we could see much lower crop yields of products such as barley and hops- ingredients that are crucial to beer production. New Belgium, who can see both their contribution to the cause and the likely effect on their business, has gone to great lengths to do their part in slowing climate change.
Three areas of action that New Belgium has focused on include renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and carbon sequestration. Although still working towards carbon neutrality and renewable energy usage in their own production process, the brewery is currently investing in renewable energy projects which are focusing on minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. New Belgium is also spearheading support for regenerative agriculture offsets, which are just now starting to become relevant. Crop production for ingredients like barley and hops will not become less important in the production of Fat Tire in the future, so New Belgium's commitment to supporting regenerative crop production will continue to become more relevant in the future. Lastly, New Belgium recognizes that transportation is an essential part of distributing their products. To play an active role in protecting carbon which is stored in trees and soil, the brewery is committed to investing funding into projects which protect forest ecosystems. To find out further information about these action steps being taken, you can visit https://www.drinksustainably.com/.
New Belgium states “Purchasing carbon offsets is not a viable long-term plan. We must work toward actual emissions reductions in our operations and supply chains. While we have already made numerous investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, we still have a long way to go. (New Belgium Brewing Company)” Seeing the steps that New Belgium is taking towards continued carbon neutrality is important. Also extremely important is the example that they are setting for thousands of other breweries and by advocating for beer lovers and all citizens alike to also do their part in lowering their carbon footprint. New Belgium Fat Tire is the first in many beers from many breweries that we hope to see become carbon neutral as breweries continue to strive towards sustainable practices.