Activism Through Beer.
At Fremont Brewing Company, we’re serious about sustainability – and not just environmental but social and economic sustainability as well. That’s why we strive to reduce our carbon footprint through energy conservation, zero waste production processes, and initiatives that grow the market for sustainable ingredients. And that’s why we provide our employees the best possible benefits we can including subsidized family healthcare and transit cards, an employer-matched 401k plan, and paid family leave for our team’s growing families. And that’s why we give back to the community that has so generously supported us throughout the years. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Award for Small Business, 2017
Awarded by Sustainable Seattle for our social, economic, and environmental sustainability efforts
King County Executive's Small Business of the Year Award, 2014
Awarded by KC Executive, Dow Constantine
We replaced over 900 fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting in both our Fremont and Ballard facilities.
Natural gas is a major contributor to climate change. We reduce our use of it by using steam generated onsite and by capturing the heat from our brew kettles during production and redirecting it to our hot water tank.
We invest in renewable energy technologies by participating Seattle City Light’s Green Up program at the PLATINUM level.
There is no such thing as garbage, just resources out of place. We give our spent grain – about 10,000 lbs a day! – to a farmer for livestock feed. That’s a higher and better use than composting it but an even better use is to convert our spent grain and wastewater into clean energy through anaerobic digestion. AD systems are big and expensive but we are partnering with Impact Bioenergy to promote the value of this technology for the growing craft beer community.
Green Business Support
Fremont Brewing is a green business member of EnviroStars, a one-stop hub for Washington businesses to get information, help, and recognition for actions that protect their workplace, the community, and the planet. Sara was a leader on the advisory team to expand and relaunch this program intended to help businesses take the next step in sustainability. The efforts below demonstrate why we are in the top tier of this program.
Yes We Can!
The vast majority of our packaged beer is canned. Cans contain more recycled material than glass (80% vs 5%) and weigh a fraction of glass so that their transportation to and from the brewery produces less carbon emissions. Plus, they preserve the beer better and cost much less. It’s Better In The Can.
We are one of the original breweries across the country to sign the Brewery Climate Declaration, a business call to action urging policymakers to take action on climate change.
As a member of WA Business for Climate Action, we support the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy This effort is a companion to the Washington Business Climate Declaration, signed by 100 WA businesses, including Fremont Brewing, calling on Governor Inslee and the WA legislature to advance policies to address climate change.
CO2 Recapture: Psych! We would love to recapture the CO2 produced during fermentation but this technology is too expensive for the vast majority of craft breweries. A primary focus of our government affairs efforts is to encourage local and state jurisdictions to create incentives for the development of green technologies that are scaled for small to medium-sized craft breweries. Who knows, maybe you could be the one to break this market open and take advantage of the craft beer sector!
No water, no beer. Because beer is 95% water, you can’t make great beer without clean water.
In our Ballard facility, we sloped the floor a quarter inch per foot out from the drains in order to reduce water use when we clean the floors. We installed meters to monitor and regulate water use more closely and identify opportunities for better conservation. We plan to capture rain water run-off from our roof for use in landscaping and some cleaning processes.
We’re members of the Brewshed Alliance, an initiative of Washington Wild, to protect wild waters and raise funds and awareness for Washington Wild’s statewide conservation work by highlighting the overlapping interests between the conservation and beer communities.
Fremont Brewing has taken the Clean Water Pledge and is partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to defend the Clean Water Act.
Organic hops are more expensive than conventional hops. More labor is required to tend the hop bines and organic, pesticide-free pest control is more expensive. In the face of these disincentives, the best way to encourage more organic hop production is to grow the market through increased demand.
Cowiche Canyon Organic Hops
Our Cowiche Canyon Organic Fresh Hop Ale is Washington state’s first SALMON SAFE beer. It earned that designation, conferred by Stewardship Partners, because it’s made with organic grain and organic hops grown at the mouth of Cowiche Canyon outside Yakima. Here’s the story: Since 2010, Fremont Brewing has partnered with the Carpenters, a fifth-generation hop growing family in Yakima and Ron Britt, an agricultural researcher and hop expert whose family owns the land. A leader in Integrated Pest Management, Britt decided to dedicate 4 acres to grow organic hops developed by the Carpenters and offered Fremont an exclusive, ongoing contract to buy the Simcoe™, Citra™, and Mosaic™ hops. Our partnership provides an outlet for testing new varieties and methodologies of growing and harvesting organic hops in Washington. Within 24 hours of harvest, the hop cones are loaded into a truck, driven over the Snoqualmie Pass, and thrown into our kettle to produce one of our most beloved small-batch beers whose proceeds support the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy.
“Organic” means Organic
Fremont Brewing joined the American Organic Hop Grower Association (AOHGA) to lobby the FDA to change the rules of organic beer certification. Until 2010, a beer could be labeled “organic” even if it didn’t contain organic hops. We mobilized other breweries and local politicians to urge the FDA to require that organic beer contain only organic hops. We won. These efforts have helped to elevate the organic hop industry in Washington to over 8 times its size when we first began. Because Organic Hops Matter.
We are Founding Partners and Steering Committee members of the Cascadia Grains Conference, a partnership initiated by WSU and OSU to revive the sustainable grains economy in Western Washington. The annual conference brings together farmers, bakers, brewers, maltsters, distillers, investors, and policy-makers to share the latest science in local grain cultivation and facilitate new business and research relationships. We have contracted with farmers and Skagit Malting Company to malt specialty barley that we’ll use in our beer. Our Skagit Valley Farmhouse Ale made with the Alba strain of barley is the first of many future brews made from locally sourced and malted grain.
We use organic grain for some of our smaller-batch beers like Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Ale which will soon be certified USDA ORGANIC. We’ll do the same for other beers as long as we can guarantee our supply of organic grain which isn’t always easy. Supporting small and preferably local barley farmers is a first step.