BISON® ORGANIC BEER: More than a beer, a movement.
Founded in 1989, Bison is an artesian company dedicated to brewing balanced, drinkable and 100% organic beers with an interesting twist. Bison strives to lead by example, educating that one need not sacrifice the pleasures of everyday living to be green. Bison is committed to reducing its impact on the planet through ecologically responsible choices in sourcing our packaging, production methods, and 100% non-GMO ingredients. We believe that organic products, from field to consumer, are the best way to protect the environment, save energy, and ensure sustainability of American farming. Organic farming nourishes and protects growing plants with soil and microorganisms and minerals, instead of with handy petrochemicals.
Certified B Corporation
Bison was the first brewery in the world to earn B Corp certification in 2010. Certified B Corps meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. You can read our public profile by clicking this link: Bison Public Profile Page @ bcorporation.net
B Corp likes to say they look for “good companies, not just companies with good marketing departments.” Certified B Corps believe that through their products, practices and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and to benefit all. We are a new sector of the economy that harnesses the power of private enterprise for public benefit.
To read a well written two-part piece that gives B Corps some context, check out this blog at Esquire Magazine.
Bottom line? We think your consumer dollar can support “good” businesses without sacrificing your standards, product quality, or “hipness”…..brands like Bison, Patagonia, Cabot Cheese, Ben and Jerry’s, Method cleaning products, Numi Tea, and New Belgium Brewery…..the list goes on! I’ll drink to that!
The Change We Seek®
We envision our biggest impact is through our customer’s choices. A restaurant or bar choosing to buy & sell one 15.5 gallon keg (or 7 cases) of organic beer a week creates demand for a farmer to convert one football field of farmland from conventional to organic agriculture. This is way more farmland than would be needed to supply an entire organic restaurant menu!
Each individual who chooses to buy a 6-pack/week of organic beer creates demand for a farmer to convert 1,700 square feet of farmland from conventional to organic agriculture. That is the size of many suburban homes, or twice an average apartment.
YOU can make a HUGE impact, and we have the numbers to prove it.
ORGANIC = NO GMO’s
Genetically Engineered ingredients are insidiously working their way into almost every foodstuff in the supermarket. What is the long term consequence of this on human health and the environment? Nobody knows. Eating and drinking organically is the only way to avoid GMOs. As a USDA and CCOF Certified Organic Brewery, Bison can GUARANTEE that its hops, barley, wheat and special ingredients used to make our beer is GMO-free.
Meatless Monday Advocate
This is one example of leading by example we are proud of. In 2011, Bison Organic Beer joined the ranks of Oprah, Michael Pollan, Sir Richard Branson, and James Cameron, as an official Meatless Monday “Inspiring Mover and Shaker.” Bison Organic Beer and all of its employees are dedicated advocates of the Meatless Monday movement. We believe that going meatless at least one day a week is better for the health of the planet and our bodies.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Going meatless once a week reduces you carbon footprint WAY more than buying a hybrid car or wearing sweaters all winter, plus it minimizes water usage, and helps to reduce fossil fuel dependence. And it is a fun challenge to cook different once per week.
Other Little Ways We Live our Values — And you can, too!
Brewmaster “Organic Dan” and his team lead by example. The Bison mantra is “one need not sacrifice the pleasures of everyday living to be green and sustainable.” This means you can find alternatives to the wasteful consumer society, keep your money’s economic impact local, Small actions have big impact. Here we list several small actions we take, and provide some links to help you follow in our footsteps.
- Hiring Practices: Bison’s has a long-standing commitment to hiring staff from disadvantaged communities. Local governments have community programs that generally offer pre-screen applicants, and provide job skills training prior to placement. We have participated in a City of Berkeley First Source Employment program and the Alameda County Social Services Agency. Candidates from the second source are pre-qualified CalWORKs assistance recipients with families with income not exceeding 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. I have hired multiple employees through these referral organizations and again found them to be exceptionally eager and bright applicants. If you are an employer, give your local agency a call. Here is a link to the Alameda County Social Services Employment Resources.
- Office Supplies: We do most of our work on computers, but when we need to buy office supplies, I choose a mission driven company GiveSomethingBack.com. This firm started in Oakland, CA by a cool Bay Area entrepreneur, and is a “B Corp” buddy, they have great customer service and warehouses all over the US. The Bison team enjoys picking the local charities that Give Something Back donates its profits to. We recently bought a kick-ass color laser jet from them, and ergonometric keyboards, recycled paper, and green cleaning products. All delivered free and usually next day.
- Screening our Vendors: We choose our vendors because of the quality of their products, but we also choose to work with vendors that are aligned with our values. If you are a small and local vendor, that is job #1, but many of the significant suppliers are gigantic corporations. We look for Sustainability Reports on their websites, and read them. We look for high recycled content and technology they use to be more efficient. This is a “negative screening” metric, where we don’t work with suppliers that can’t provide sustainably produced products. We are proud to use all organic ingredients because of their impact on the environment, but we also screen out other vendors that don’t at least try to be sustainable. Here are two success stories:
- 6-pack and 4-pack cartons are supplied by Graphic Packaging International, and use 100% Recycled Paperboard
- Case boxes are bought from a West Coast manufacturer who sources their paper stock from MeadWestvaco. The recycled content is only 12% to 20%, using waste recovery systems from scrap, and post consumer waste. The material is re-pulped and blended with virgin pulp sourced from sustainable forestry operations. We are shocked that it is actually more economically (not sustainably) efficient to ship all our curbside cardboard recycling to China and India, rather than to recycle it here in the USA.
- Giving back to local charities: The business model for Bison Organic Beers lends itself to consumer trial and sampling to spread the word about the beers. Indeed, we get hundreds of requests per year to participate in street fairs, local school events, or other community events all benefiting very worthy causes. However, to best achieve our Mission, Bison Organic Beers has a Charitable Giving Plan and evaluates qualified organizations for donations based on alignment with our sustainable, green, and organic Mission. A recent B Corp audit surprised us when they determined about 2% of sales were donations to charity, plus a triple digit number of hours of donation through paid payroll hours. We’ll share more of this in 2016 as we catalog these events, large and small. Stay tuned!
- Recycle Consumer products: We don’t generate much, but when our old laser printer died we properly recycled it at our local Alameda County hazardous waste site. Did you know that you should recycle your old shoes?? You should also recycle all “E-waste”, fluorescent bulbs, and even electronics like your coffee machine with a brew timer, because the circuit boards inside contain heavy metals that leach into your local landfills, imperiling your groundwater. Whatever you have that has come to the end of its useful life, visit http://recyclewhere.org to enter your zip code and “what” it is that you are looking to recycle, and you’ll find out where to take responsible care of the end of life of your stuff.