Clean water is a part of their triple bottom line business model. Crafting great beer while caring for the planet and doing what is right is how they operate. Their journey has led them to take steps to reduce their own impact on the water supply. They’ve built an onsite process wastewater treatment plant. They’ve cut water use. They give philanthropic dollars to nonprofits engaged in water conservation. They do what they can to honor the environment in their own process and philanthropy. They also know that good policies that protect water can do more than they could ever do on their own.
Through their Environmental Stewardship Grant program -- aka $1 per Barrel program -- they donate $1 for every barrel of beer they sell to non-profits and causes that resonate with us. The causes that they focus upon fall into a few big categories, and one of those categories is bicycle advocacy and sensible transportation. In 2014, they are allocating $105,000 to support local organizations around the country who are working to make the bike a viable form of transportation in their communities. They thought it would be cool to spotlight one of those organizations:
The Bike Depot is a nonprofit community bike center located in Denver, Colorado. They offer a ton of services and have put thousands of folks in bike seats on the streets of Denver. Through co-operative instruction and guidance, they teach individuals how to confidently repair their own bicycles. Their efforts help foster community and inspire folks to safely ride their bicycles more often. BikeDepot is an integral part of Denver’s exploding bicycle scene: whether you ride for recreation or are a full-time commuter they can help you get your butt in the right saddle and teach you how to make it a smooth ride.
The Wetlands Initiative was founded in 1994 and is dedicated to restoring the wetland resources of the Midwest to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and reduce flood damages. Their vision is clear and straight-forward: wetlands are more valuable wet than dry. The work that they are doing to promote this vision is pretty phenomenal: they are promoting the use of wetlands by farmers to naturally reduce nutrient pollution resulting from runoff of agricultural fertilizers. Before we get into the details of what that means, let’s back up for a moment and talk about what a wetland is, and why they matter so much to us. A wetland is an area of land that is saturated with water (at least part-time), and which is distinguished by its unique aquatic vegetation. A few types of wetlands that y’all may be familiar with depending upon your surroundings include mangroves, swamps, and marshes. Wetlands are arguably the most biodiverse type of ecosystem on the planet, providing habitat for countless species of plants & animals, and countless recreational opportunities for us humans. What’s more, they filter, clean and store water for their surrounding ecosystem. Or as the folks over at defenders.org put it, they’re the Earth’s kidneys! The importance of these storage and filtration functions cannot be overstated. By providing floodwater storage, wetlands can naturally handle significant flood events, avoiding the devastating effects that a flood can have on buildings, habitats, lives, and pocketbooks. By providing filtration, wetlands naturally remove high concentrations of contaminants and nutrients to ensure downstream ecosystems continue to thrive. And this is where the folks at the Wetlands Initiative (TWI) come in.
New Belgium is honored to connect with TWI, and to connect with Midwestern farmers through them, and they look forward to hearing more about the great work they are doing. Next time you are navigating an American waterway, be sure to toast the good folks at TWI. It only seems appropriate to drink a Portage Porter while on the water, so perhaps you should fill a river-safe metal growler with it before you set out, eh?
We are so excited to bring New Belgium to Chautauqua County, Cheers!