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 as much as possible through energy conservation and 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 including healthcare, an employer-matched 401k plan, and subsidized transit. 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.
And that’s why we received the King County Executive's Small Business of the Year in 2014 and Washington Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2015.
We replaced over 600 fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting in our Ballard production facility. We heat the water in our hot liquor tank with on-site generated steam instead of natural gas which is much more efficient and cuts down on a major contributor to climate change. Heat produced during the brewing process is captured and redirected into the system. We invest the equivalent of 60% of our energy in renewable energy sources by participating in 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. 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 and Seattle Public Utilities to host a small pilot system to demonstrate the value of this technology for the growing craft beer community.
Carbon Footprint Offset
We mitigate our carbon footprint by participating in Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program which provides money to plant and maintain trees used for forest and natural area restoration in cities and rural lands throughout Western Washington.
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.
Brewery Climate Declaration
We are one of 24 original breweries across the country to sign the Brewery Climate Declaration, a business call to action urging policymakers to take action on climate change. 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.
We are sourcing a scalable CO2 recapture system for our fermentation process. Currently, the market does not provide an option for small to medium sized craft breweries like us but we continue to talk about our need far and wide... Who knows, maybe you could be the one to break this market open by taking advantage of the craft beer sector.
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 will install meters to monitor and regulate water use 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. That’s why Fremont Brewing is a “Greener” member of Seattle Public Utilities Green Business Program which rates businesses based on their implementation of water conservation measures.
Beer is 95% water and you can’t make great beer without clean water. That’s why 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 pest control (basically, bugs) is more expensive. In the face of these disincentives, the only way to encourage more organic hop production is to grow the market through increased demand.
Cowiche Canyon Organic Hops
Since 2010, Fremont Brewing Company has partnered with the Carpenters, a fifth-generation hop growing family in Yakima and Ron Britt, an agricultural researcher and hop expert who owns land at the mouth of Cowiche Canyon outside of Yakima. A leader in Integrated Pest Management, Britt decided to dedicate 4 acres of his land to grow organic hops and partnered with Fremont to develop the Cowiche program. Our exclusive, ongoing contract to buy the Simcoe™, Citra™, and Mosaic™ hops 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 by Ron’s son, and thrown into our kettle to produce one of our most beloved small-batch beers: Cowiche Canyon Organic Fresh Hop Ale. 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, malters, 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.