SUDS WITH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE
By Carol Milano
Next time you savor a beer, you might be saving the forest,
protecting an endangered lighthouse, or encouraging alternative energy
Last May, Summit Brewing Company was approached by the Forest Stewardship Council about using certified wood at its brewery. The St. Paul firm decided that supporting sustainable forestry would be a smart business investment for them. "Buying certified pallets that come from well-managed and harvested forests lets us reassure our customers that we purchase things not taken from clear-cut forests. We're upholding our company values while encouraging forest management practices that protect clean water resources -- an essential ingredient in quality beer," says Christopher Seitz, Operations Manager.
Switching to certified pallets was an easy decision, because
they're not paying a premium for the wood, although Seitz had originally
expected to. Fortunately, Summit's supplier also joined the Forest Stewardship
Council and began to manufacture certified pallets. "We actually
get fan mail about it, even from non- beer drinkers," Seitz marvels.
"It didn't cost us a thing -- the best kind of advertising."
Summit, established in 1986, makes eight types of craft beers.
Brewin' In The Wind
By unanimous employee vote in 1999, New Belgium Brewing
Company, in Fort Collins, Colorado became America's first totally
wind-powered brewery. Today, it's the largest brewery in the world
to meet 100% of its energy needs through wind use. Nationally-recognized
for its environmental efficiency, the company began on-site water
treatment last May, to generate re-usable by-products like methane
and nutrient-rich sludge while cleaning the water they used in the
brewing process. The methane then fuels a co-generation plant, and
the sludge helps build soil. The treatment makes their water clean
enough to discharge back into the ground or the Poudre River.
Does their altruism make business sense? "Wind power does cost more, but we' re glad to do it. We would rather save the environment than save money," says Alex Leedy, a New Belgium spokesperson.
If more breweries follow the examples of these trailblazers, you'll soon be able to choose your cause while you order your beer!
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