Some 8 months after the company was acquired by Kirin-owned Lion Little World Beverages, officially ending its almost 30 years of independent brewing operations, New Belgium is reaffirming its commitment to the ecological tenets that have always been core to the brand. They may no longer qualify under the Brewers Association’s increasingly unwieldy (and not particularly useful) definition of a craft brewer, but that won’t stop New Belgium from being the country’s first brewery with a nationwide beer brand that is certified carbon neutral.
That brand is of course Fat Tire, the longtime New Belgium flagship amber ale that operates almost like its own independent brand at times. In order to draw attention both to the perils of climate change, and the beer’s new carbon neutral certification, New Belgium will be engineering a stunt today, Aug. 7, 2020 for International Beer Day, charging $100 for six-packs of the beer “at select retailers” across the country. New Belgium describes that price point as “a price that reflects the potential true cost of beer in 50 years if the climate crisis continues unabated,” and goes on to say the following in their press release:
By actually charging customers 10x the normal price, Fat Tire is highlighting the need for urgent action from government and businesses to avoid a climate-induced economic catastrophe, where the simple things we love become ultra-luxury products affordable only by the very wealthy. At the same time, Fat Tire is announcing that it has become America’s first national beer brand to be certified carbon neutral. The brewing industry has been slow to confront the climate crisis – but the impacts of climate change are already disrupting the beer supply chain, from higher costs for barley and wheat, to the growing scarcity of clean water used in brewing, to more severe weather affecting operations around the country. Fat Tire is leading the way – and inviting other businesses to join the fight.
A statement from New Belgium CEO Steve Feccheimer likewise takes on a sober tone, saying the following:
Make no mistake, the climate crisis will create an economic catastrophe—one far greater than what we’re experiencing now. As the CEO of a medium-sized brewery employing 700 people, I can tell you that our business would not survive in a world in which the cost of making beer, along with staple products like coffee, flour and rice, skyrockets due to climate-induced disruptions in agriculture. Companies of all kinds would suffer high prices, broken supply chains, damaged or destroyed infrastructure, and rising healthcare costs—with small companies, which make up 44 percent of GDP, dying off first, unable to compete with larger ones. As business leaders, we know this better than anyone. That’s why it’s on us to fight for smart climate policy now—and decimate the false narrative that clean energy is a job killer, opposed by corporations, which is still a refrain you hear from some so-called “pro business” politicians.
To that end, New Belgium has invested in renewable energy, regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration in order to make production and distribution of Fat Tire carbon neutral, which you can read about in much greater detail here.
So if you happen to see a six-pack of Fat Tire marked up to $100 today, now you know why.