New Belgium Brewing is a company that leads in many ways. Not only is this a microbrewery that produces arguably some of the best beer in America, but they have also maintained their status as an energy-conscious company since their inception in 1991.
Fort Collins, CO, home of New Belgium Brewing Co., is a community that strives to promote the health and well-being of its citizens. The city has long encouraged residents to use bike or public transportation, and as of 2007, the FortZED project seeks to make Downtown Fort Collins a net Zero Energy District.
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In 2010, New Belgium had over 800 photovoltaic solar panels installed on their packaging facility, creating enough solar power on a sunny day to provide up to eight hours of power. Past efforts have seen the company subscribe to wind power in 1998 and most recently, the company has invested in a fleet of Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, which produce zero emissions and are used by employees for sales support.
In addition to the major efforts of the company to cut energy emissions, they have promoted their customers and community with the “Clips of Faith” shows, as well as provided refillable growlers for beer purchase and promoted healthier ways for employees to commute to work. After one year, workers at the brewery receive a “fat tire” bike, and if they choose to drive, vehicles with better emissions get priority parking.
The efforts put forth by New Belgium Brewing make great strides in helping to promote Fort Collins’ FortZED efforts of making the downtown area a more sustainable business district. Though not initially part of the FortZED program, another famous Fort Collins brewing company, Odell’s, has taken the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint by installing their own solar panels, which contributes greatly to the FortZED effort. These large, local companies are great examples of existing conscientiously in, and for, the Fort Collins community.