13. New Belgium Brewing


LOCATION: Fort Collins, CO
BEST PERKS: Travel, Alternative work environment, Fitness
HIRING? YES! newbelgium.com

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is considered a leader in sustainable business practices in the craft-beer industry. New Belgium became the first brewery in America to subscribe to wind energy for its electrical needs, in 1998. The brewery currently produces 15 percent of its electricity on-site by harvesting methane from its process water-treatment facility to fire a cogeneration engine. New Belgium installed a 200-kWh solar array in 2009, and it has one of the lowest water-to-beer production rates in the industry. The brewery has won multiple awards and accolades for its ever-expanding portfolio of beers. 

New Belgium co-workers would say you come for the beer and stay for the culture. We are an employee-owned company, so that contributes to ownership thinking that truly allows us to function at a high level. In conjunction with ownership, we practice open-book management so every co-worker knows how money is being spent and how they can impact the bottom line. We engage all co-workers at a high level with an annual company-wide SWOT analysis that determines our strategic planning. We have a democratically elected ownership committee that helps educate employees as to the rights and responsibilities of ownership. Our philanthropy committee is made up of volunteer co-workers who allocate more than a half-million dollars a year.

Inclusion in our Employee Stock Ownership Program at one year’s employment; gifted a cruiser bike at the same time. There’s an induction ceremony in which our founder and CEO presents a “mojo” award she makes by hand.

After five years with the company, employees are taken on a trip to Belgium with all our fifth-year colleagues to experience the liquid culture that inspired New Belgium’s creation.

Our sabbatical program allows employees who’ve been with the company for ten years four weeks’ paid leave, and they can add up to two more weeks.

We have an on-site gym (Nautilus and free weights) with lockers, showers, a cyclocross dirt-bike track, a climbing wall, and yoga classes. Our wellness committee communicates benefits and organizes programs like smoking cessation. New Belgium pays for gym memberships around town and offers sports scholarships (entry fees and support) for teams and individuals.

We take informal group bike rides nearly every afternoon when the weather allows. There’s Thursday-evening volleyball on-site nearly year-round, coupled with a shift beer (can’t forget the shift beer!).

Salaried employees track their own hours and are responsible for making up any work they might miss while out biking/hiking in the summer sun. Hourly employees have worked together in their respective departments to determine shift load—four ten-hour days, three twelves, etc. 

Our local grants program raised $650,000 for 26 states in 2010. Tour de Fat, our philanthropic traveling bike festival, raised more than $330,000 for bike nonprofits in 13 cities in 2010.

The volunteer program at New Belgium allows for one hour of earned time off for every two hours volunteered. 

Bike commuting is encouraged through covered bike parking, lockers and shower facilities, and shared company vehicles (a Prius and a Passat), which allow some employees to live car-free. On-site recycling is free to co-workers and supplements the curbside program by allowing pickup of computers, electronics, car oil, bike tubes, and wood.

We offer sustainable living tips online and on a wall near our kitchen that highlights best practices as developed through our Sustainabillies team of volunteer co-workers.

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