Green Drinks: Fall Festival, TOMORROW
Co-Presented with Northwest Film Forum

WHERE : Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave (Capital Hill)
Green Drinkers, TOMORROW we gather around to welcome Fall in true Sustainable Seattle fashion, with our Green Drinks Fall Festival! Our theme for this month's Green Drinks is to "Create Change".

Green Drinks Fall Festival kicks off TOMORROW , doors will be opening at 5pm . Our location this year is an especially fun one: Northwest Film Forum in Capitol Hill!

We are focusing this month on using media towards climate action. We have guest appearances from NWFF, 350 Seattle , and a line up of local performers including Michelle Dodson , JASE , and Natalie Quek . We will have announcements and information on the upcoming week of Climate Action. Treats will be provided by Homegrown , beer by Fremont Brewing , plus a few more additions to our usual programming!
Sponsor Profile: Fremont Brewing is a sustainability leader in the craft beer industry
For Sara Nelson, it’s never been just about the beer (although, the beer certainly matters).  

Sara is the co-founder of Fremont Brewing , a community-oriented craft brewery located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Fremont Brewing is a generous sponsor of Sustainable Seattle⏤you’ve likely enjoyed their tasty brews at Green Drinks and various S2 events. 

Sara’s relationship with Sustainable Seattle began in 2002, when she started working with Seattle city council member Richard Conlin, who was one of the organization’s original founders and creators of the internationally recognized sustainability indicators . With a Ph.D. in Anthropology and a focus on race and gender issues, Sara’s career first oriented towards progressing public policy on the local, national, and international front. She didn’t know where her work would take her, and certainly not that it would ultimately lead to a career in the craft beer industry. 

Sara met her future partner and brewery co-founder, Matt Lincecum, at the WTO while they were both in the midst of careers working for social change. Matt was working as an attorney specializing in beverage and hospitality law, but soon after meeting Nelson decided to put his law career on hold and start a brewery. 

Together the pair strategized ways in which they could make great beer while treating their employees well and benefiting the greater Seattle community. Sustainability was a major part of that discussion. As her previous work in city council focused on zero waste principles, Sara emphasized the importance of incorporating sustainability into Fremont Brewing’s business model from the start.

“Matt came from a background of environmental activism, and I was focused on public policy. So sustainability is baked into the DNA of our company,” said Nelson. 

Fremont has built reciprocal relationships with local farmers and maltsters in Skagit Valley, who plant some of the most flavorful native barleys for Fremont and in return are paid significantly more and have healthier land, as barley is a superb cover crop that can reduce soil erosion, improve water infiltration, and suppress pests and weeds. 

Fremont’s Cowiche Canyon Organic Fresh Hop Ale is Washington state’s first SALMON SAFE beer , as conferred by Stewardship Partners. Proceeds from the beer go to the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy
Zan McColloch-Lussier is the Community Partnerships Director at Fremont Brewing. With a background in social justice and a previous career in nonprofit work, Zan was drawn to Fremont Brewing for their unwavering commitment to social and environmental justice. Fremont believes in operating the company with a triple bottom line for a positive social, ecological, and economic impact. “Either you do it from day one or you don’t, and it makes a really big difference. They come from a really generous framework,” said Zan. 

As part of his job, Zan represents Fremont at beer festivals all over the country, and he relishes being able to connect with members of the craft beer community to chat about Fremont’s dedication to sourcing exceptional ingredients that benefit farmers, the land, and beer lovers alike. 

Zan also underscores the importance of a healthy watershed in brewing beer. “We’re so lucky to live in a place where we have some of the best water for brewing. For over 110 years, the city’s been getting our water from the Cedar River Watershed, and that rain - it does something.” 

Fremont exceeds the industry standard for water conservation. They average a 4:1 water to beer ratio, meaning that they produce 1 gallon of beer for every 4 gallons of water they consume (the industry standard ranges between 5-6:1). They installed sloped floors in their brewing facility in Ballard to reduce the amount of water required to spray them down during cleaning. They’ve taken the Clean Water Pledge and are members of the Brewshed Alliance , an initiative of the nonprofit Washington Wild that seeks to protect the state’s waters and emphasize the shared interests of conservation and beer communities. 
One of the biggest steps Fremont took to reduce its carbon footprint came in 2011, when they decided to invest in a canning line. While the stigma of canned beer being lower quality than bottled beer prevailed at the time, Fremont trusted that their beer would prove otherwise. 

Sara is proud of Fremont’s foresight to switch their production line to cans. “Now everyone’s doing it because they realize there is no quality difference. Cans are not bad for beer.” 

In fact, they are arguably better. Cans release less oxygen and protect their content from sunlight, preserving beer better than glass. They’re lighter and more efficient to carry, reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions related to transportation. Perhaps most surprisingly, cans are made from around 80% recycled content, vs. glass bottles which are only 7% recycled.

Always searching for ways to reduce their waste, Fremont gives about 10,000 lbs of spent grain a day to a farmer for livestock feed. They’ve also partnered with Impact Bioenergy to convert spent grain and wastewater into clean energy through anaerobic digestion. 

Beyond their continual efforts to operate as sustainably as they can, Fremont actively works to influence policies that will make environmental best practices the more affordable option for small businesses. They are founding partners and steering committee members of the Cascadia Grains Conference , influential members of the American Organic Hop Grower Association , WA Business for Climate Action , Envirostars , and the Brewer’s Association Government Affairs Committee. 

While Fremont is among a growing list of craft brewers that have made significant moves to reduce their carbon footprint, Sara says that current policies continue to prohibit small companies in the industry from making sustainable choices. “Craft brewing is on the frontlines of sustainability because we’re so heavily involved in both manufacturing and agriculture. This is a self selected group of people that are passionate about beer and also care about social and environmental responsibility. Pretty much everyone wants to do it.”

(All photos courtesy of Fremont’s Marketing and Events Manager, Cori Geiger)