When they first started a new brewing company in the basement of their home in 1991, social worker Kim Jordan and engineer Jeff Lebesch made a commitment to be conscientious stewards of the business and the environment. Today, a visit to the gleaming New Belgium Brewing Co. in Ft. Collins, CO, shows the durability of that promise.
From the sea of bicycles—each employee receives a red retro bike on the their one-year anniversary with the company—to the suntubes that bring brilliant Colorado sunshine into dark warehouse spaces, the brewery serves as a demonstration that good principles and good business can go hand-in-hand. After all, the company produces Fat Tire Ale, the hip beer that causes pangs of envy to beer drinkers outside New Belgium’s distribution area.
Doing the right thing isn’t always win-win: staff have had to make some difficult decisions in the interest of their green practices. In 1998, employees voted to dip into their bonus pool to help finance the conversion to wind energy, making New Belgium the first brewery to do so.
But most measures that conserve water, energy or materials, or recycle waste into something useful are also good for the bottom line: New Belgium is growing at an enviable rate.
This year, New Belgium launched its first organic beer, Mothership Wit. The name is a tribute to the “Mothership,” the company’s nickname for its sustaining and sustainable brewing facility, and philosophy of that inspires the company.