During the last decade, Colorado has become renowned, and rightly so, for its craft beer mastery. With more than 230 microbreweries in the state, we have the highest concentration of breweries per capita. Thank goodness for the vast selection of quality suds, otherwise I might have to purchase New Belgium beers, and become a de facto extreme, anti-free market environmental activist.
Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery lists “kindling cultural environmental change” and “honoring the environment at every turn” as two of their ten core values. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with growth in our culture while respecting our natural surroundings. But New Belgium’s cozy relationship with extreme environmental groups subjugates free market principles and the proper role of government in favor of promoting an economic and environmental agenda that negatively impacts Coloradans.
In 2015, there was a brouhaha brewing in Craig, the western slope town whose citizenry depends on the economics of coal mining. New Belgium’s contributions to the anti-coal WildEarth Guardians incensed the townsfolk, prompting the brewery to sever their relationship with WildEarth Guardians. The spokesperson for New Belgium claimed ignorance, reporting to have no knowledge of the fact that they were partners in the battle to kill local jobs. Considering they employ a director of sustainability, it is hardly believable that nobody executed an Internet search of WildEarth Guardians before forking thousands of dollars over to them and their energy jobs killing agenda.
Having terminated that relationship and declaring the offense an oversight, one would think that New Belgium would no longer climb into bed with environmental extremists. Or maybe, that’s just who they want as community partners, because a bottle of the season Accumulation brew boasts of a relationship with Protect our Winters, an effort co-sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s.
Via their website, Protect Our Winters purports that their relationship with New Belgium inspires people to call their governors and make policy demands including support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is designed to suffocate the coal industry and its workforce. According to a report from top economists at the National Economic Research Associates, the CPP’s squeezing of coal plants will increase delivered electricity costs by 17%, while only reducing global temperatures by a mere 0.003°, an amount that will not affect extreme weather or any other purported dangers of climate change.
As evidenced by their enduring relationships with anti-energy environmental activists, it is clear that New Belgium would like to see the coal industry out of business, increase utility costs for already stretched Coloradans, but have zero measurable effects on global temperatures. They want people to demand more state and federally imposed restrictions on the citizenry. It would seem that New Belgium knew exactly what they were doing with WildEarth Guardians, and that they intend to continue these sorts of anti-energy partnerships into the future, maybe until we can no longer afford to purchase luxuries like craft beers. Pour me a Coors.
Sarah Huisman is an Independence Institute Future Leader, and Master’s student at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government.