What is the carbon footprint of a six-pack of Fat Tire amber ale?
Do you even care after drinking all six bottles yourself?
Two good questions, only one of which is answered in a report issued by the Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewery, which makes Fat Tire.
To find out, the brewery measured the greenhouse gas emissions created over the course of a six-pack's life cycle, which includes the purchase and transport of raw materials used in brewing and bottling, the brewing process itself, the cold storage of the beer in warehouses, liquor stores and refrigerators, employee commuting and business travel, and the disposal of the bottles.
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The total greenhouse gas emissions during the life cycle of a six-pack of Fat Tire is 3,188.8 grams of CO2 equivalents - most from refrigeration. My shoddy calculations lead me to the conclude that this is the equivalent of driving a car for seven miles (ironically, to and from the liquor store if you are me).
Interesting. Even more interesting, however, is Fat Tire's continued efforts to measure its impact on the environment and to do something about it, whether it is by outfitting its brewery with energy efficient lighting, sponsoring a bike race or researching its own carbon emissions in this report or another on sustainability. The brewery has a person with the title of Sustainability Director, for crying out loud!
Sadly, that director, Jenn Orgolini, wouldn't speculate on my most important question: "What do you think the carbon output of a sixer of Coors Light is?" But she did tell me that New Belgium plans to measure the output of its new canned six-packs sometime this summer. She also said that as a company that has made "sustainability part of our brand," she expects that many people will hold New Belgium to the highest standards.
New Belgium is also investigating what the carbon footprint would be for an organically-produced six-pack. The wave of the future? We'll just have to keep drinking and find out.