By Megan Dobransky on Nov 29, 2010

‘Green’ Beer for the Holidays

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Let’s face it; sometimes the stress of the holidays just makes you want a drink, and even better…an eco-friendly drink. Businesses like New Planet Brewing Company make having a beer environmentally friendly.

With every sip, you can enrich their mission of helping everyone celebrate life with a good beer and doing good things for the planet.

Pedro Gonzalez and Seneca Murley, co-founders of New Planet Brewing Compay

New Planet Brewing Company got its start in Boulder, Colo. in 2003 when Pedro Gonzalez, president and co-founder, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease – an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the protein in grains like wheat, barley and rye, which are typically found in beer.

While Gonzalez changed his diet and began feeling better, his craving for beer grew.

“As a natural progression, I started drinking gluten-free beer and so my desire to make a tasty gluten-free beer arose,” said Gonzalez.

Five years later, after much trial and error with his brew master friend, Roy Emmons, Tread Lightly Ale was born. This beer, their second product 3R Raspberry Ale and their latest brew Off Grid Pale Ale, available in the coming months, are all 100 percent gluten-free and a portion of their profit goes to nonprofit organizations.

Each label has an environmental effort that it’s trying to impact. Because 3R Raspberry Ale is named after the three R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle, portions of its profits are donated to nonprofit environmental organizations in Colorado. Proceeds from Tread Lightly Pale Ale are used for trail restoration, and profits from Off Grid Pale Ale will go to organizations that promote alternative energy.

Sure, donating money to certain causes helps save the environment, but New Planet does a lot more to curb their impact on the globe.

“We are trying to reduce the carbon footprint by being a contract brewer. By purchasing existing capacity from an established brewery, we reduce the carbon footprint right off the top,” Gonzalez said. “Also, we team up with breweries that care about the environment like Fort Collins Brewery, our current brewer.”

At their heart, breweries aren’t that environmentally unfriendly. Energy use from refrigeration and wastewater are two of the biggest factors that can impact the environment. “Refrigeration is obviously good,” said Gonzalez, “because it means you can store your product on site for a long time. But it can be a huge draw on energy to keep everything cold.”

A lot of water used in the brewing process, so wastewater can also be an issue. Fort Collins Brewery doesn’t refrigerate the beer after packaging, and their wastewater is recycled in the farming community.

New Planet doesn’t use wheat, barley or rye to make their beer, so the usual grain waste of the beer making process isn’t an issue for them. But Fort Collins Brewery and others recycle their grains by giving them to farmers to use as feed. Currently, New Planet beer is only available in Colorado, but it will be hitting shelves in Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming at the beginning of January.

When you get your hands on some and finally have a moment to relax, don’t forget to recycle your bottle when you’re finished!

[search type="recycle" what="glass" whatlabel="glass"]

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  1. Colorado brewer has the planet in mind…

    New Planet Brewing of Boulder, Colo., engages in corporate social responsibility. Each of the company’s brands supports a different eco-friendly cause: Profits from 3R Raspberry Ale go to support environmental organizations, while a pale ale called Tr…

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