New Belgium’s marketing strategy involves linking the quality of its products, as well as its brand, with the company’s philosophy of environmental friendliness. As chair of the sustainability subcommittee for its trade group the Brewers Association, NBB is at the forefront in advancing eco-friendly business processes among companies in its industry. Co-workers and managers from all areas of the organization meet monthly to discuss sustainability ideas as part of NBB’s natural resource management team. From leading-edge environmental gadgets and high-tech industry advancements to employee-ownership programs and a strong belief in giving back to the community, New Belgium demonstrates its desire to create a living, learning community. NBB strives for cost-efficient energy-saving alternatives for conducting its business and reducing its impact on the environment. In staying true to the company’s core values and beliefs, the brewery’s employee–owners unanimously agreed to invest in a wind turbine, making New Belgium the first fully wind-powered brewery in the United States. NBB has also invested in the following energy-saving technologies:
• A smart grid installation that allows NBB to communicate with its electricity provider to conserve energy. For example, the smart grid alerts NBB to non-essential operational functions, allowing the company to turn them off and save power.
• The installation of a 20-kilowatt photovoltaic array on top of the packaging hall. The array produces 3 percent of the company’s electricity.
• A brew kettle, the second of its kind installed in the nation, which heats wort sheets instead of the whole kettle at once. This kettle heating method conserves energy more than standard kettles do.
• Sun tubes, which provide natural daytime lighting throughout the brew house all year long.
• A system to capture its waste water and extract methane from it. This can contribute up to 15 percent of the brewery’s power needs while reducing the strain on the local municipal water treatment facility.
• A steam condenser that captures and reuses the hot water that boils the barley and hops in the production process to start the next brew. The steam is redirected to heat the floor tiles and de-ice the loading docks in cold weather.
In April 2014, New Belgium was featured in a half-page advertisement supporting the EPA clean water rule that was introduced on March 26, 2014. Andrew Lemley, New Belgium’s Government Relations Director, was quoted in an EPA news release championing continued support for the Clean Water Act while also associating quality water with quality beer. In addition to voicing political support for environmental protections, New Belgium also takes pride in reducing waste through recycling and creative reuse strategies. The company strives to recycle as many supplies as possible, including cardboard boxes, keg caps, office materials, and the amber glass used in bottling. The brewery also stores spent barley and hop grains in an on-premise silo and invites local farmers to pick up the grains, free of charge, to feed their pigs. Beyond the normal products that are recycled back into the food chain, NBB is working with partners to take the same bacteria that create methane from NBB wastewater and convert it into a harvestable, high-protein fish food. NBB also buys recycled products when it can, and even encourages its employees to reduce air pollution by using alternative transportation. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—the three R’s of environmental stewardship—are taken seriously at NBB. The company has been a proud member of the environmental group Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), and it signed BICEP’s Climate Declaration in 2013 which calls for American businesses, stakeholders, and regulators to address climate change. Additionally, New Belgium has been a long-time participant in green building techniques. With each expansion of its facility, the company has incorporated new technologies and learned a few lessons along the way. In 2002 NBB agreed to participate in the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) pilot program. From sun tubes and day lighting throughout the facility to reusing heat in the brew house, NBB continues to search for new ways to close loops and conserve resources. New Belgium has made significant achievements in sustainability, particularly compared to other companies in the industry. For instance, New Belgium’s goal is to use only 3.5 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer, which is more than 20 percent less than most other companies. The company is attempting to create a closed-loop wastewater system with its own Process Water Treatment Plant, in which microbes are used to clean the wastewater. NBB recycles over 99.9 percent of its waste, and today 100 percent of its electricity comes from renewable energy sources. Despite these achievements, it has no intention of halting its sustainability efforts. By 2015 the company hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 25 percent per barrel. To encourage sustainability throughout the supply chain, NBB adopted Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines. The Guidelines allow them to pinpoint and work closely with eco-friendly suppliers to create sustainability throughout the entire value chain. For its part, NBB conducts life-cycle analysis on its packaging components while continually seeking more efficient refrigeration and transportation technology that can be incorporated into its supply chain.