Fight Climate Change with Carbon Neutral Beer

Who knew fighting global climate change would be such thirsty work? Apparently, the brewers and executives of New Belgium did. As of August 6, SCS Global Services announced that Fat Tire Amber Ale was the United States’ first certified carbon neutral beer.

Fighting Ignorance with...Alcohol?

New Belgium raised prices on their Fat Tire six packs to $100 on International Beer Day as a one-day initiative highlighting the damage climate change could do to our daily lives. Beer is one of the top beverages in the United States and the effects of climate change could severely impact its creation—along with other food staples such as coffee, rice, and even flour.

What does it mean to be carbon neutral?

Human activity is the primary source of greenhouse gases, and production and distribution are major contributors. For a quick refresher: greenhouse gases sit in our atmosphere and act like a pane of glass—heat can get in via the sun’s rays, but no heat can escape, creating a warmer and warmer climate that affects everything on our planet.

Carbon neutrality is achieved by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon removal, or by eliminating carbon emissions completely. The company is currently purchasing carbon offsets to reduce their carbon emissions, but notes on their website that this is not a viable long term plan.

The Future is Beer

New Belgium has named a number of renewable energy and sustainability efforts they plan to invest in including:

  • Adding new renewable energy installations at their breweries

  • Increasing their standing investments in energy efficiency

  • Improving refrigeration management

  • Creating a green supplier program to help packaging, malt, and barley suppliers reduce their own carbon emissions

  • Continuing their advocacy efforts to demand aggressive climate policy at the federal level

While Fat Tire Amber Ale is the first nationally distributed carbon neutral beer in the United States, it’s not the only beer distributor to do so. Scottish craft brewer BrewDog has committed to becoming carbon negative (removing twice as much carbon from the air than it emits). Their efforts include investing in local brewing sites to reduce the distance between customers purchasing a 2,000+ acre where they plan to plant one million trees and restore 650 acres of peatland (two of the most effective, natural carbon offset methods).