Colorado Forest Lodgepole pine forest west of Cameron Pass on highway 14 in Colorado.. © Mark Godfrey/The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Colorado

Why Forests Matter to Colorado Brewers

We asked brewers in Colorado why healthy forests and clean water are important to their work and their community. Here's what they had to say.

Blue Moon Brewing 

For John Legnard brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company, protecting water sources is common sense. “Ninety-five percent of beer is water,” says Legnard. “It’s an essential ingredient and must be pure to produce a high-quality beer for our customers.”

Legnard has been brewing beer for more than 25 years since starting a small brewery in Ft Collins, Colorado in 1992 before helping start Blue Moon at the Sandlot Brewery in 1995. Blue Moon Brewing Company was started by Coors Brewing Company and is now part of the MillerCoors family but continues to operate in Denver and Golden, Colorado, so rivers such as the South Platte in Denver and Clear Creek in Golden are of paramount importance.

John Legnard of Blue Moon Brewing Co.
John Legnard John Legnard of Blue Moon Brewing Co. © Blue Moon Brewing Co.

“Taking care of our rivers has to be a priority,” says Legnard. “We are happy to partner with The Nature Conservancy on their OktoberForest initiative to raise awareness of the importance of protecting forests and water sources. Many people don’t realize the critical role that forests play in filtering, cleaning and regulating the water that goes into our river” says Legnard. “I spend a considerable amount of time exploring the Colorado high country and see first-hand how important forests are to the entire ecosystem.  In fact, forests in Colorado do vital work in capturing snowmelt and filtering the water that enters our rivers, which one day becomes our favorite beer.”

“It’s important to be as sustainable as possible,” adds Legnard, noting that seven large MillerCoors breweries around the United States have achieved ‘certified landfill free’ status, and the brewery in Golden is one of the most water efficient breweries in the world.

“Protecting our natural resources is the right thing to do, not only for our products, but for future generations.”

Fort Collins, CO
Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins, CO

Odell Brewing Co. 

From Corey Odell, Sustainability, Leadership and Development Coordinator:

"Odell Brewing cares about forests because they are the first line of defense in having clean water available for our beer. Forests filter water and a healthy forest eliminates runoff and sediment in our rivers. Forests also offer a beautiful escape into nature; we have to burn off that beer somehow!

We also care about water quality and helping to address that because you can't make quality beer without quality water; water makes up 95% of our product. We are very fortunate that we have such clean water to use and we want to keep it that way.

Quote: Corey Odell

You can't make quality beer without quality water; water makes up 95% of our product.

Sustainability, Leadership and Development Coordinator

Odell Brewing has a number of sustainable practices ranging from waste diversion and recycling, sourcing 100% of our energy from renewable sources, to working closely with non-profits who share the same environmental values, like Oktoberforest. We are also fortunate that every co-worker keeps an eye out for ways to make our processes more efficient. A motto of ours is 'Always Better.'"

Oskar Blues brewery and brew pub is one of the Colorado breweries participating in Oktoberforest.
Oskar Blues Oskar Blues brewery and brew pub is one of the Colorado breweries participating in Oktoberforest. © Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post
Lyons, Colorado
Oskar Blues Lyons, Colorado

"Founded 20 years ago in Lyons, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft beer-in-a-can apocalypse with their hand-canned, flagship brew Dale's Pale Ale. Today, Oskar Blues is one of the fastest growing breweries in the country and operates breweries in Colorado, North Carolina and Texas.
In 2016 alone, Oskar Blues used 14,623,000 gallons of water at our Colorado facility. Beer is 95% water, so it’s key to have good, clean water to make delicious craft beer. Water quality and composition directly impacts the flavor and fermentability of the beer. 
Aside from supporting healthy forests, which in turn protects and helps filter our water, Oskar Blues has always been an outdoor focused brewery. In fact, the reason we began canning beer originally was because it was portable and infinitely recyclable so we could take it with us while recreating in the outdoors. Pack it in, pack it out has always been part of our messaging, and we support a wide variety of sustainability initiatives nationally. We are thrilled to participate in The Nature Conservancy’s OktoberForest initiative to protect forests, water and our beer!"

Upslope Brewing

Join us on Wednesday, October 23rd at Upslope Brewery in Boulder to discuss forest health, enjoy delicious beer, and play some Colorado “Tree-via.”    

"Founded in 2008 in Boulder, Colorado, Upslope Brewing Company's goal is simple: Make a better beer rooted in the outdoor lifestyle. We've canned our beers from the beginning because packability is key to the après lifestyle and allows for every adventure to be celebrated when it happens, where it happens. We believe our cans are a hand-held tribute to all who agree that playing hard should end with a quality beer that goes down easy. And last time we checked, when it comes to places to fish, hike or crack a craft beer, there is no planet B. So that's why, from the water and energy we use to the waste we make, Upslope does everything possible to leave a mark with our beer, not our footprint. And it's why supporting The Nature Conservancy's OktoberForest initiative was such a no-brainer for us."

Healthy Forests = Clean Water = Great Beer From the tree canopy all the way down to root systems, forests play a critical role in cleaning, storing and protecting our water—beer's main ingredient.

If you like beer, you should love forests.

Beer is 95% water. And 40% of the world’s usable water comes from forests. Help protect beer’s main ingredient. Help us plant one billion trees!