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Ethical Business View of New Belgium Brewing

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Colorado Technical University

Case Analysis #3

Business Ethics

Robert Baretich

August 24, 2007

Many of the case analysis in this book contain companies who have been under scrutiny for its ethical behaviors. There are some that provide great examples of how an ethical business should run. Through excellent use of social responsibility, employee compensation, and a good product, the New Belgium Brewing Company stands out as an excellent example.

The New Belgium Brewing Company was founded in 1991 by Jeff Lebesch and his wife, Kim Jordan. The idea started from a trip to Belgium, a country that is known for its remarkable beer and its centuries old traditions of making it as well. The trip culminated by the making of the first batch of Fat Tire beer in the couple’s basement. The name was chosen in honor of the bicycle trip Jeff had made to Belgium. Within years the homebrew was gaining a devoted customer base and enabled them to move out of the basement into a facility that promotes production on a larger scale. The couple outlined their idea for the new company on a hiking trip to the Rockies. These core values that were penned on that trip are still the core values that the multi-million dollar brewery sticks to this day.

Some of the major environmental issues the company addresses are in the core values of the company. Reuse, recycle, and reduce. New Belgium has many ways they cut waste. They use solar lighting in the daytime to save electricity. This electricity is actually powered by a wind turbine that made the brewery the first fully wind-powered brewery in the United States. They also encourage farmers in the area to take the spent grain to feed livestock. One of the more innovative features the company uses to save energy is to redirect the steam to do several things such as start the next cycle of brewing, heating the floor tiles, and deice the loading docks in cold weather. The brewery also gives employees who have served a year with the company a bike in which they encourage the employee to ride to work.

New Belgium Brewing has also taken a very clever stance on its philanthropy and advertising. On its advertising campaign, the actual beer appears only for 5 seconds on its 30 second time slot. Its tag line is “Follow Your Folly…Ours Is Beer.” This lets consumers know that the bottom line of the company is making great beer. The ways in which New Belgium donates profits of beer sales also has an impact on their advertising and overall sales. The brewery has donated more than $1.6 million since the company was started. The New Belgium Philanthropy Committee, which is actually composed of employees throughout the brewery, from owners, to production workers, are responsible for the decisions in this arena. The donations generally go to organizations within their market who engage

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