Carrotmob Buys Beer, Gets Liquor Store to Go Green

During her presentation last week at the Craft Brewers Conference, Jenn Orgolini, Director of Sustainability at New Belgium Brewing, discussed a surprise finding in their new study that assessed the lifecycle carbon impact of a six pack of Fat Tire. More than half the greenhouse gas emissions from their flagship beer comes from the refrigeration units at beer retailers.

A new group in San Francisco, going by the name Carrotmob, may have the solution to this carbonated conundrum. Here’s the plan: everyone go get some beer.

Okay, it’s slightly more complicated than that and the organization’s founder makes it look a lot easier than it really is, but he does seem to be on to something. He asked 23 local liquor stores how much money they’d be willing to spend on environmental improvements if he rallied hundreds of customers to converge on the store in a buying spree. The winning bidder, K & D Market, committed to spending 22% of that day’s proceeds on energy efficiency upgrades.

They ended up raising nearly twice as much money as the retailer expected (and more than five times what they earn on a typical day) and the revenue was spent on updating the store’s entire lighting system and replacing all the refrigerator gaskets.

I call that beer activism at its finest. Using the carrot, er, the beer, rather than the stick, to advance sustainability.

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