Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 31

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Andy Coleman/Shutterstock.com

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BY NICK FORTUNA

When you work for the fourth-largest craft beer
company in America, you can bet that your workday
will involve plenty of sipping. But for the chemists,
microbiologists and quality assurance team at New
Belgium Brewing, the first sip of the day is the most
important.
New Belgium Brewing has run a brewery in Fort
Collins, Colo., since 1991 and last year opened a
second brewery in Ashville, N.C. The company sold
957,968 barrels of beer in 2016, and since the typical
beer is 90 percent to 95 percent water, it's not hard to
guess the most important ingredient in each recipe.
To ensure that every barrel is brewed with water of
unimpeachable quality, workers taste it each day. Sure,
they also perform scientific tests to determine the pH
level and mineral content, but if the water can't pass the
taste test, it's time to cancel happy hour.
Turn on any sporting event, and you're likely to
see commercials for major beer companies featuring

pristine water cascading down the Rocky Mountains,
confirming just how important good water is to the
finished product. Water purity is a core component of
their brands and the foundation of their products, so it
should come as no surprise that brewers big and small
care deeply about the forests that provide so much of
their water.
"Every single day, our brewers are tasting the water
to make sure it's just right," says Dana Villeneuve, a
sustainability specialist for New Belgium. "Both of our
breweries are located next to the headwaters for their
regions, so our water is coming from those rivers, where
it was just treated by that forested land, and we know
that we're very, very lucky for that. Water is the main
ingredient in beer, so we're very lucky that we have
such great, healthy sources. It's no coincidence that so
many breweries are located here in Colorado."
Both of New Belgium's breweries get their water
from their municipalities, and those water systems rely
heavily on forest watersheds. Fort Collins obtains water
from two sources, according to Villeneuve: the Cache
la Poudre River, which begins in the northern part of
Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Horsetooth
Reservoir, a popular recreation destination surrounded
by 1,900 acres of public land, much of it forested.
Ashville gets its water from the North Fork and Bee
Tree reservoirs, which are fed by creeks and streams
surrounded by more than 17,000 forested acres in the
Black Mountains.
All across the United States, forest watersheds are
a key factor in the rapidly growing craft beer industry.
Today, there are more than 5,000 brewpubs and
microbreweries nationwide, roughly three times as
many as in 2010, according to the Brewers Association,
which represents small, independent craft brewers.
The association estimates that craft beer companies
contributed $55.7 billion to local economies and
accounted for 424,000 jobs in 2014, the most recent
year for which statistics are available. Colorado alone
has 334 craft breweries, second only to California.
"Colorado breweries are very conscious about water
supply, so many of them will give contributions to local
water foundations," says Steve Kurowski, operations

Fall 2017 * WOODLAND 31



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodlands - Fall 2017

Overstory
Tools and Resources
Forests and Families
A Legacy to Keep
From Forests to Fermentation
Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - intro
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover1
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover2
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Overstory
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 5
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 6
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 7
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 8
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 9
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 10
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 11
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 12
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 13
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 14
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 15
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 16
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 17
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Tools and Resources
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 19
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Forests and Families
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 21
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 22
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 23
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - A Legacy to Keep
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 25
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 26
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 27
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 28
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 29
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - From Forests to Fermentation
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 31
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 32
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 33
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 35
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 36
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 37
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 38
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover4
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