April 5th, 2020
Colorado’s status as a leader in beer has been brewing for generations. From the 1873 founding of Coors to the launch of the New Belgium Brewing Company in 1991, the state’s beer business stands head and shoulders above most others. Today, the Centennial State boasts more than 300 breweries, each showcasing its own unique portfolio of beer.
According to data provided by the Brewers Association, Colorado ranks as the atop craft beer market, with a 9.2 craft breweries per capita (1,000) in the state. This represents more than $3 billion in annual economic impact for the local economy.
Look beneath those summary numbers, and you’ll notice the awards and accolades that shine on Colorado craft beers. Two of the top 10 craft breweries in America can be found in small town of Fort Collins, Colorado. One of those top breweries, New Belgium Beer, has brands that have become household names throughout the United States, including Fat Tire, Voodoo and Americans Haze.
New Belgium doesn’t just make medal winning beers. The company has been recognized as a leader in innovation and company culture. Since Day 1, New Belgium believed that business can be a force for good. Since 1991, the company has given away nearly $27 million to local organizations. Today, thanks to their co-worker assistance fund, they are able to help employees and their communities navigate economic challenges from Covid-19. And, a few years ago, when the founder sold the company – it was the employees who became the owners. One reason the beer could be so great is that every employee has a stake in making sure the product is the best!
New Belgium – like many of America’s top breweries – is also leading the charge to be environmentally responsible corporate citizens. Given the company’s proximity to the pristine Rocky Mountains, their affinity for sustainability is perfectly understandable. According to “The Good Trade”, New Belgium Brewing ranks second in the top eight sustainable craft breweries in America, with 99% of their waste reused or recycled.
In fact, the beer industry as a whole is not afraid to talk about sustainability. “Sustainability has always been an important consideration in the craft beer industry,” Matt Gacioch, sustainability ambassador for the Brewers Association, told Thrillist. “The pioneers of craft beer pre-1990 were already finding creative ways of disposing of waste, giving spent grains to farmers and improving the efficiency of their operations. That said, the leaps in technology and wider awareness of sustainability issues in the past decade have led to even more impactful innovations, as well as a broader swath of craft brewers implementing formalized sustainability programs and initiatives.”