Democratic National Beer Waste Convention

I don't know about you, but I am tired of pouring $20 bills into my gas tank. Actually, I was tired of pouring $20 bills into my gas tank. Now it's more like $50 bills, and I drive a Nissan Sentra. Still, just as I thought it would only get worse, a light just may be getting ready to dawn at the end of the tunnel. Or, to be more precise, at the end of Mass St. With a bit of luck and a flex-fuel vehicle, we may all be able to fill our tanks with the leftovers and spilled beer at Free State. That's right, friends. [As the Democratic National Committee is now telling the world][1], they have partnered with Coors Brewing to fuel their 400 flex fuel vehicles at the Democratic National Convention in Denver next month with ethanol made from beer waste. Now, my roommates in college would tell me that if you have beer waste, you aren't drinking right. But the people at Coors have been turning their beer waste into ethanol since 1996. They collect "beer waste" from spills in the factory and from beer that does not meet their quality standards. Apparently [they spill enough to produce about two million gallons of ethanol per year][2]. The really exciting aspect of this is that Coors has found that recycling waste beer is quite lucrative in addition to being environmentally friendly. As more companies figure out ways to make recycling profitable, real, significant, positive improvements in our economic, environmental and social health will result. [Even Wal-Mart is making some great strides][3]. What do you think? Should companies be recognized and rewarded (through patronage, for example) for this kind of behavior or are they just trying to be trendy and will ditch the green efforts as soon as they think no one is looking? [1]: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2008/05/19/daily30.html [2]: http://www.molsoncoors.com/responsibility/environmental-responsibility/from-grains-to-gas/302/ [3]: http://kansaspublicradio.org/newsstory.php?itemID=8036

Comments

DOTDOT 14 years, 4 months ago

Nice blog.I would gladly reward Coors through patronage if I didn't consider their entire product line beer waste. And Walmart's success through exploitation of slave labor in third world countries while destroying local economies probably renders moot the additional revenues produced by the occasional green freak that doesn't shop there already. And EVERYONE (including Al Gore) will ditch the green efforts as soon as the trend dictates there is no more money to make from it.But that's just me...

malehrman 14 years, 4 months ago

I hear what you are saying. I do agree that the companies are ultimately interested in their bottom line. But I don't think Walmart is trying to attract the "green freak," rather they are making "green" buying decisions mainstream. Their buying power and ability to influence the market can and will help make buying "green" less expensive for everyone and ideally can minimize or even eliminate less "green" choices.

goldstein 14 years, 4 months ago

While I am no fan of Coors, Walmart (or Democrats, for that matter), I applaud them. In our economic system, we cannot expect companies to go green because it is the right and responsible thing to do. As the late Milton Freidman (no fan of him either) noted, companies are only responsible for one thing and one thing only: to produce ever-increasing profits for shareholders. Barring a revolution (don't hold your breath) that radically reorganizes our economic system, we are left with our deeply flawed and often inhuman system. That said, capitalism can and does produce swift and radical change when there is money to be made. So, while Coors Beer ain't no Ad Astra (God bless Freestate), perhaps it's time to go get me a sixer of the Silver Bullet. Great post, Matt. Thanks.

measles 14 years, 4 months ago

Well, one way to get them to ditch the green trend is by NOT patronizing them. On another note, news that Anheuser-Busch has been using genetically-modified grain to make Budweiser beer has made me much more conscious in my beer consumption. This tidbit of info on the innovation over at Coors just may influence my next liquor store purchase...

SirSkinksALot 14 years, 4 months ago

So is Free State the only beer we can like to be cool (or did I miss a meeting)?-a Coors AND Free State fan

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 14 years, 4 months ago

Hmmmm . . . Well, for one thing, Coors makes Molson, Blue Moon, Keystone, and Carling, not just their namesake. That being said, this doesn't seem like one of those "Hey, if we go all green people will buy more of our beer!" sort of thing; in my experience, folks who buy those brands aren't exactly your "Let's hop in my Prius and go get some environmentally-friendly beverages, then put the packaging in my recycling bin!" types. I'm guessing that the bottom line, is, of course, the money to be made off of ethanol fuels. However, to my limited understanding, the vast majority of the money made from ethanol isn't at the consumer end--it's government grants, tax exemptions, etc . . .

phoenx32 14 years, 4 months ago

Is this something that we as both consumers and policy makers should be supporting?I recently entered a Starbucks to find breakfast (for the record, Tempe could be the worst college town ever as Mill Avenue lacks any establishment that serves breakfast at 8:30 AM on Saturday. There is allegedly 1 place that serves BREAKFAST burritos... starting at 11). As I scanned the menu, I noticed a rather trending looking bottle of water. The trendy bottle was Ethos bottled water (http://www.ethoswater.com/). To save you time, Ethos claims to be supporting clean water initiatives in Africa. Therefore, by buying Ethos trendy water, one can logically conclude that they are saving lives (childrens' lives nonetheless).While Ethos and Coors are promoting unique programs that place them ahead of many corporations, these initiatives will clearly do very little to affect significant change. (Ethos claims to be on the path to affect 400,000 people, which is an overwhelming .00001% of the world's estimated 2.4 billion that lack adequate access to clean water). I fear that too many Americans contribute to causes such as this, and convince themselves that they are no longer apart of the problem. Even more problematic are those who think that by drinking trendy water at Starbucks and guzzling the Silver Bullet in front of their energy-saving big screen TVS, they are actively working to save they environment (which is even more ridiculous in Phoenix, arguably the most wasteful and unsustainable city in the world).Isn't it time that consumers and policy makers genuinely reassess the state of the environment and how the machine of capitalism interacts with it in hopes of finding a legitimate, macro-sustainable solution? Quick fixes are not the solution and could potentially be a part of the problem with the mentality they produce.

malehrman 14 years, 4 months ago

Phoenx32,I hear what you are saying but I would question whether these types of actions on the part of Coors or Ethos are intended as "quick fixes" or to help get more people involved in making the world a better place. Some people will have to be pulled kicking and screaming, so why not make it easier for them to help out? The activists will always do the grunt work, but isn't it better to do something, even a little, rather than nothing?

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